Regional | Rotorua

Rotorua mayor calls on government to help address city safety following attacks

“We are just one more fight, one more incident away from someone being killed.”

Rotorua mayor Tania Tapsell is calling on the government to help the city address a spate of attacks on students and provide more police.

It comes as the Rotorua District Council is spending $1.8 million a year for inner-city security, with the mayor saying the council is acting beyond its core responsibilities by needing to address crime and ensure community safety.

The latest incidents in the past few days included two young girls attacked in public who were left bloodied and bruised, one outside a bus stop where many schoolchildren are dropped off.

“Unfortunately, we have been informed that in some instances, children were wearing certain colours, which does lead us to believe that there may have been some gang influence [in the attacks],” Tapsell says.

“However, these children are very young, and we are having to put in security and extra safety measures to make sure our community is safe.”

Council filling in for police

Tapsell says it’s a police issue but, without enough resources, the council is having to reach into its pocket to ensure an element of safety.

“We do have one of the highest crime rates in the country. Police resourcing does not reflect the demand of that. What we’re saying is, if the evidence is there, why are we not being given more police with these issues?

“Honestly, we are working as hard as we can to provide local solutions but there’s only so much money and resources to fund that, which is where we say, ‘Come on government, please help.’”

Tapsell says she sent a letter of plea to the Police on August 25 and is yet to receive a response.

“We are just one more fight, one more incident away from someone being killed. These are our young people, our community needs to feel safe.

“But we can’t do it alone.”

Tapsell is a former National candidate for East Coast in the 2020 election. She lost to Kiritapu Allan who later stepped down.

Public Interest Journalism