A ratepayer-funded cash reward to flush out the perpetrators of vandalism at Lake Horowhenua has been slammed by a ratepayers’ advocacy group.
Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy said the council wanted to find out who had caused thousands of dollars of damage to buildings housing rowing and yacht clubs at Lake Horowhenua Domain and he was prepared to use ratepayers’ money to encourage someone to dob in the vandals.
But Horowhenua and District Ratepayers and Residents Association chairman Bryan Ten Have said he thought Mr Duffy was setting a dangerous precedent by singling out the lake buildings for attention.
Mr Duffy said whoever had caused the recent damage amounting to around $100,000 needed to be caught and he was sure the Horowhenua community would not mind the council offering a $5000 reward.
‘‘We have made this offer to support police finding the vandals. The money is coming out of council funds.’’
Mr Ten Have said Mr Duffy was also jumping the gun in repairing the run-down buildings.
‘‘There is a case before the Maori Land Court at the moment about the ownership of the land and buildings and I think he should wait for the outcome of that before he ploughs other people’s money into a project like that.’’
Mr Ten Have said it was not the council’s job to offer rewards to fight crime, but rather something the police did.
Mr Duffy said anyone who didn’t agree with using the money for the reward should look hard at themselves and he did not think it was inappropriate to use ratepayers’ money.
‘‘Hell no. There is always some negative people but if they don’t agree, I’m sorry. I’ve made the decision that’s what we are doing.’’
Mr Ten Have said he did not condone the vandalism that had taken place, but he believed ratepayers should be given the opportunity to discuss what their money is used for.
Mr Duffy said a mayoral fund had also been set up for people to donate money so the buildings could be renovated and there would be a working bee the weekend after Labour Weekend to give the area a revamp.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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