Stuff is reporting this morning on the meeting held by the Wanganui District Council yesterday where an important decision was made - read on:
Wanganui District Council will become the first in the country to test new gang legislation through the courts to have an "intimidating" fence torn down.
The move has the support of police and puts a two-metre-high iron fence around the Whanganui Hells Angels' headquarters in jeopardy.
But one councillor believes police have not proven enough criminal activity takes place behind the Hells Angels' walls to warrant them being torn down. The law states the court can order a structure to be removed if it facilitates or conceals crime, or is used as a way for alleged criminals to hide from police.
At a council meeting yesterday, councillors voted to join with police in making an application for the removal of the fence at 48 and 50 Kaikokopu Rd, under the Gangs and Organised Crime Bill. Seven councillors voted in favour and six against.
The only thing which concerns us on this issue is that there are six elected representatives of the people of Wanganui who came out on the Hells Angels' side. Then again, it's election year. But we appalud the mayor for leading this crusade against the Hells Angels in this instance, and gangs in general.
Gangs are insidious and evil. They contribute nothing to a civilised society; indeed, they openly encorage their members to break the law, and to intimidate and control.
Wanganui has a gang problem; we are far from alone in that. Our whare is within 2km of where Jhia Te Tua was shot dead by Mongerl Mob members, and a little over a kilometer from where Paul Kumeroa was beaten to death by Black Power members and associates for nothing more than wearing a red jacket.
But where Wanganui differs is that it has a mayor who is prepared to stand up to the gangs. It also has a council which, by a bare majority, supports the mayor. We did not vote for Michael Laws last time around, or the time before that. This year however, we will support those candidates who are prepared to have a go at ridding Wanganui of its gang problem, and though the thought horrifies us, we will even consider voting for Michael Laws if he stands for a third time.
Gangs in Wanganui have had their day; it's time for the citizenry to support the mayor and council and get rid of these scumbags for good.