'Imbeciles' destroy pines

By Roger Moroney

Vandals have slashed and snapped off about a dozen newly planted Norfolk pines on the beachfront walkway between Westshore and Bay View.

Napier City Council parks and reserve staff were left fuming over the attack, which appeared to have taken place some time over the weekend, and walkers and cyclists using the pathway left pondering what one cyclist called "mindless stupidity".

Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said the damage was the work of "imbeciles".

"It is so disappointing. The stretch between Bay View and Westshore has people on it all the time, so these cowards have probably gone along there at night to do this."

For parks and reserves staff, it was not the first time they had been called to replace a string of vandalised trees.

Within weeks of sapling pohutukawas being planted on the Marine Parade walkway stretch near the War Memorial Conference Centre two years ago about a dozen were snapped off.

Similar trees were planted near West Quay and on two occasions they were vandalised, and eventually had to be replaced by mature trees which cost upwards of $500 to purchase and plant.

Two women out for a mid-morning walk yesterday were left shaking their heads when they spotted one of the vandalised pines, near one of the old concrete gun bunkers halfway between Westshore and Bay View.

One said she had also come across "four or five" about 1km away toward the Westshore end of the walkway.

A similar number were spotted damaged further along.

"Who would want to do something like that - it's just stupid."

The pine, which had been about 1m high, had been completely snapped off.

One of the wooden posts used to secure it had also been pulled out of the ground but was nowhere to be seen.

"If they want some wood there's plenty on the beach," the woman said.

Mrs Arnott said those responsible probably had parents who paid rates.

"So it hurts them because they have to be paid for."

She said council would not give in to vandals and the pines would be replaced.

"Napier is a good community," she said. "And the one thing that can defeat these imbeciles is that community."

She echoed the police stance on such incidents. "If people suspect this sort of activity is taking place call the police. We shouldn't have to put up with that."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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