Threat to disrupt cricket foiled

Last updated 05:00 14/01/2014
tdn lease stand
Harry Midgley, 1, was with Waitara lease holders who protest outside Pukekura Park where Papua New Guinea played Kenya in a Cricket World Cup qualifying match.

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A threat by protesters to disrupt New Plymouth's three Cricket World Cup qualifying matches did not even make it through the gate.

A small group of placard-waving Waitara leaseholders were yesterday warned they would be arrested if they entered Pukekura Park.

The warning stopped the protesters from entering the cricket ground and making good their threat to disrupt the game between Papua New Guinea and Kenya.

"They told us last week we would be arrested if we went inside. But we didn't even have a chance to go in. The cops were out here waiting for us," protest leader Eric Williams said.

"We are not going to break the law but we are going to protest," Gloria Williams said.

The couple are one of a number of leaseholders facing massive ground rent increases on their leasehold properties. They say they cannot afford the new rents and want council to reduce them, something the council claims it cannot do.

In most cases leases being reviewed now are increasing from around $450 to about $4000. Leases are reviewed every 21 years, making for huge differences between old and new rents.

The couple said despite being stopped at the gate protesters would return for the remaining qualifying matches on Thursday and Sunday.

Senior Sergeant Allan Whaleysaid police had contacted the protesters last week.

"We just established contact with them and worked out an agreement with them as to how they could legally stage their protest," he said.

Just two constables were at the cricket, which though free, attracted just a modest crowd of spectators who posed no trouble to the law keepers.

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- Taranaki Daily News


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