'Provocative' foetus float sunk for breaching standard

CHE BAKER
Last updated 05:00 28/09/2013
Float banned from the Alexandra Blossom Festival grand procession

CONTENTIOUS: Foat builders Bruce Lietze and Alistair O’Brien, from the group Life is Precious, with part of their float ‘‘Biggles to the Rescue’’, which has been banned from the 57th Alexandra Blossom Festival grand procession.

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Alexandra Blossom Festival organisers have banned a float from entering today's grand procession because its builders "have purposely gone out to be provocative" and refused to change the float.

Event organiser Martin McPherson said the float, which features a 12-week-old foetus with signs saying "Who will save me?" and "Adoption will save me", was the work of the group Life is Precious.

"It's inappropriate and potentially offensive," Mr McPherson said.

A float entered into the parade by the group last year almost broke the parade's "good taste" standards and this year it definitely had, he said.

Builder Alistair O'Brien said the float was built not to offend but to "provoke thought".

The float, called "Biggles to the Rescue", featured three parts, a suspended aeroplane being chased by a tank with the unborn baby in the hands on a trailer behind.

"It would have been a bit of street theatre," Mr O'Brien said.

He believed the float linked in with the theme of spring, new blossoms and new life.

"It's serene. It's not obscene at all," he said.

Builder Bruce Lietze said the float wasn't anything like the Boobs on Bikes event and the Hero Parade and was not intended to be a command.

Mr McPherson said Mr O'Brien was passionate about his beliefs "but he cannot use the procession to propagate his message".

It was suggested the group change part of the float to make it more appropriate but they were not prepared to compromise, he said.

The group decided if the trailer part of the float was not allowed in the parade then the other two components would not go.

Sarah Hesson, who was set to be the float's princess, will ride a non-competitive float so she can take part in the festival queen contest.

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- The Southland Times

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