Nat caught removing Labour signage

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2013

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An embarrassed National Party will reprimand a young supporter after he was seen pulling down a sign belonging to the party's main by-election opponent.

The man was yesterday seen getting out of a marked National Party van belonging to Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner and tearing down a sign advertising street-corner meetings to be held by Labour candidate Poto Williams. Wagner is overseas.

Local mother Kylie Mather, who witnessed the incident on a Dallington street, said the man initially denied his actions but later admitted it after she threatened to call police.

National candidate Matthew Doocey's media manager, Liam McNamara, tried to downplay the incident, saying the man was "having a bit of fun" and had planned to use the sign in an online photo when he was approached by Mather.

McNamara said he would be talking to the two men involved but stopped short of issuing an apology to Williams or Labour.

For her part, Williams was relatively relaxed, saying it was "a silly thing to do".

Mather, who said she does not support either party, was driving down Strathfield Avenue when she saw the man jump out of the van and walk towards the Labour sign.

The van's driver, another male, seemed agitated and "was in a hurry to get out of there".

"I thought something's not right here so I turned back and watched him. He walked in front of it, untied the sign and put it on the ground face down," she said.

That was when Mather challenged him. He eventually re-tied the sign and left.

Mather contacted Wagner's office but was unhappy with their response so she contacted Labour officials.

Williams seemed unconcerned when contacted.

"I'm really glad the National Party want to help my campaign like that."

Williams said she could get really angry about it but it was "a silly thing to do on their behalf, considering I think they were in a marked vehicle".

The campaign had been a relatively clean one but National were starting to get a bit desperate if they were resorting to that kind of behaviour, Williams said.

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- Fairfax Media

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