Dark view of green light for Magog celebrations
A street party to celebrate the 40th anniversary of New Plymouth's Magog Motorcycle Club has gained council approval.
Bertie Burleigh, owner of Peggy Gordon's Celtic Bar, applied to the New Plymouth District Council to close Egmont St, from 4pm on March 1 to 4am on March 2, for the club's celebrations.
Police and a neighbouring business owner opposed the closure.
The application was debated at last night's council meeting.
Senior Sergeant Thomas McIntyre said police couldn't prevent the celebrations but there were concerns about the venue.
"There are other venues that would support their needs that are away from public viewing and will attract only those people that want to take part," Mr McIntyre said.
He said while the Magogs claimed they were a harmless motorcycle club, the Government recognised them as a gang or outlaw motorcycle club and police were concerned about the type of people the event would attract.
"Other outlaw motorcycle gangs will travel to New Plymouth to take part in the celebrations.
"These gangs will include the Hell's Angels, Head Hunters and The Filthy Few."
Mr McIntyre said the gangs were organised criminal groups which had a track record for being involved in serious crime involving drugs and violence.
Mr Burleigh said the party was not a Magog event, it was a Peggy Gordon's event that would be run the same as numerous other street parties he had held including at the time of the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
"We don't think that there will be a large gang presence," he said.
Magog president Russell "Shagger" Gilmer pointed out the club had run its 20th anniversary celebrations at the TSB Stadium in 1994 without incident.
Mr Gilmer said patched members of the club had also worked as security at the venue during the RWC.
Councillor Shaun Biesiek said other events at the bar had been run successfully and there was no reason not to support it.
John "Horse" McLeod said in his view it was no different than other events held at the bar.
Gordon Brown said the Magogs had no right to ask that a public street be shut down so the club could celebrate its birthday.
Howie Tamati had concerns about who might attend the event.
"We could possibly be inviting a potential problem," he said.
Grant Coward supported the police objection saying the club had a direct link to the Hell's Angels.
"It portrays our city in a very bad light," Mr Coward said.
When it was put to the vote, 10 councillors voted in favour to allow the street closure while Mr Brown, Mr Coward, Mr Tamati and Richard Handley voted against it.
Mayor Andrew Judd did not vote.
An application for a special liquor licence for the party will be heard in January.
Taranaki Daily News