Members of NoDrill Kaikoura have been left disappointed by recent targeting of their signage in what appears to be a motivated attempt to silence their opinion.
A sign which had been erected on the southern approach to town, on private land, was painted over in December, and last week a vandal struck again, cutting down a large sign which read "seismic testing harms our dolphins".
Group spokesperson Lynda Kitchingham said the latest sign had lasted less than 24 hours before it was cut out of its frame, which was frustrating for them as they had spent hours making it. They had also been given permission by the landowner to put up the sign before they did so, she said.
The group has come under fire for other, less well-orchestrated attempts to have their say, including the scruffy and badly-executed painted "No Deep Sea Oil" message on the Scenic Circle fence on Churchill St, however they say this was neither carried out nor endorsed by NoDrill Kaikoura. One member has since painted out this sign in conjunction with Scenic Circle management, who provided the paint, in order to distance themselves from such irresponsible action.
Ms Kitchingham said putting up signage on approved land with landowners' permission was a matter of freedom of speech.
"No Drill Kaikoura does not condone vandalism and does not participate in it. We would appreciate if others would show us the same respect," she said.
"We believe in freedom of speech and if the vandal or vandals who stole our sign had put up their own sign stating their beliefs we would applaud them."
It appeared the latest sign was hacked out of its frame in one piece, and the group was hopeful of getting it back before this Saturday's Banners on the Beach event. The sign could be left at the Reserve Hut cafe in West End, with no questions asked, she said.
"Further, we would like to invite the person or people who took the sign to meet with us for a discussion about seismic testing. We can supply them with ample scientific information linking seismic testing with harm to marine life. That's how we do business."
- © Fairfax NZ News