Friday, May 24, 2024

Picton protestors issued trespass notices

Police and Marlborough District Council officers have served trespass notices on protestors in Picton’s Nelson Square.

The move, just after 9.30am this morning, came after the group decided to continue their occupation of the square despite being offered an alternative daytime gathering site at Waitohi Domain, well away from residential housing, Council said in a statement.

Mayor John Leggett said Council was disappointed the group had not taken up its offer of an alternative site.

“We have taken a pragmatic approach and acted in good faith in our negotiations with the group. We offered a solution that would have delivered a workable compromise that I believe everyone could have lived with – the Council, local community and the protesters,” he said.

“The group’s decision to stay – taken without consulting the Council or anyone in Picton – is disappointing for the community, particularly those who live near Nelson Square, and also for local businesses that have had to put up with the disruption the group has brought to the town.”

“Picton does have a small group of people who support the protest, but the vast majority of people in the town and in Marlborough would like them to move on as soon as possible.”

Mayor Leggett said the Police would be taking a lead in future enforcement actions.

“I’d like to thank our Police for their support and assistance so far. I appreciate the difficult job they have in dealing with a disparate group with a limited leadership structure that contains elements that many would consider to be extreme. I also recognise there are moderate voices within the group.”

“The group representatives we met with were appreciative that the Council, as the elected representatives of the people of Marlborough, fronted up and entered into direct negotiations with them.

“I note this has yet to occur in Wellington and I call upon the New Zealand Government to find a workable solution to negotiating with the group occupying the area around Parliament, either directly or through a third party intermediary.

“I certainly do not want to tell the Government how to do its job but it’s clear to everyone that the Picton group will only move on voluntarily once a solution is found that resolves the ongoing protest in Wellington.”

Mayor Leggett said further negotiations and enforcement actions in Picton would continue to be undertaken by the Police with the Council’s full support.

He said the likelihood of the group moving on voluntarily without a resolution in Wellington was unlikely.

“To the ratepayers and residents of Picton I say: we hear you, we know you are very unhappy about the protest and we are doing our best to resolve a difficult situation. It won’t be solved overnight but the Police and the Council will do everything within their power to peacefully resolve the occupation of Nelson Square.”

The Mayor reiterated that the Picton protest was unlikely to be fully resolved until the Wellington protesters pack up and leave.

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