Signs costly to replace

By Anna Ferrick, Sam Hurley

3 comments
A sign for HBRC candidate Rex Graham has been targeted. Photo / Duncan Brown
A sign for HBRC candidate Rex Graham has been targeted. Photo / Duncan Brown

Mayoral candidates Wayne Bradshaw and Peter Butler have become the target of vandals after having their faces hacked out of billboards promoting them for council.

A candidate for the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Rex Graham, has also had his billboard defaced.

Mr Bradshaw, who is contesting the Hastings mayoralty, first noticed one of the signs, on the corner of Arataki Rd and Te Mata Rd, had been targeted about a week ago.

"Someone had cut out my face with a very sharp blade."

Just a few days ago Mr Bradshaw received a call to advise him another one of his signs had been vandalised, this time on Mill Rd.

"I went out and had a look and it appears to be a very similar process. What's concerning for me is that there are people roaming around with very sharp blades in their pockets doing stupid stuff."

He said he has no idea who would be targeting his billboards or why they would have done it.

Mr Bradshaw said it is "odd" that on a corner where three other candidates also have billboards, only his was vandalised.

"I've never been shy in saying what I think, so that might have something to do with it ...

"So far this election I've been very pleased with all the positive comments I've had but it's obviously just a small section of society that do stupid things like this."

Mr Bradshaw said he has heard of small amounts of vandalism and graffiti of signs in the past and said it's "unfortunate but not unforseeable."

"I'd rather they attack a bit of plastic than me personally."

Despite the incidents Mr Bradshaw is not too worried about the cost of replacing the signs and has kept a good sense of humour.

"Perhaps they needed a new face for their dartboards."

Mr Butler, who is hoping for another term as mayor of Central Hawke's Bay, said he "is not a happy camper".

"I've had my face cut out of two billboards, a moustache drawn on one and a moustache and horns drawn on another."

He said he has tried to go to the police about it but told that it is all part of the course of running for council.

"I think that's a weak excuse. We're talking about $200 or $300 signs here, if I went and did that to someone's letterbox or something the police would be doing something about it."

Hastings mayoral candidate and Hastings District councillor Simon Nixon jokingly said it was not him who defaced the signs and thought about sticking his face in the gap which had been left.

"To my knowledge none of my signs have been damaged. I was very careful with the way I designed mine using a black background because I thought most of these people would use black paint to vandalise them," he said.

"I also used chipboard or plywood so its quite hard to punch a hole in it unless you karate kick it."

"It's always disappointing to see it happen, but I guess some people just have the urge to smash signs up. By the time you put these signs up it can cost $250 out of your own pocket."

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said he had seen Mr Bradshaw's sign with the missing face and so far during this year's campaign said none of his had been damaged.

"They haven't this year but they have in the past. They don't really know how much it costs to put these signs up," he said. "So far I don't actually think the vandalism has been so bad this year."

Mr Butler said the way he looks at it he has given two years of his life to Central Hawke's Bay and would like the culprits to speak to him directly.

"I know not everyone is going to agree with me on everything I do but why don't they just front up? I've got no problem with people ringing me up or coming to see me, just don't wreck my property."

In a further act of vandalism, a billboard for Hawke's Bay Regional Council candidate Rex Graham on Te Aute Road, Havelock North has also had the face cut out of it. He is contesting the Havelock North ward.

Despite the incidents, Hastings District Council electoral officer Richard Palmer said it is the first he has heard of the vandalism.

"Unfortunately there's not much we can do. We have no powers over private property."

Napier City Council deputy electoral officer Elaine Cooper said vandalism has not been a problem in Napier.

"I haven't heard of any or seen any but I haven't really gone around policing it. It's pretty self-policing."

She said if members of the public had a problem with any signs they could complain to her and she would contact the candidate.

Ms Cooper is also in her first year as deputy electoral officer but has been involved in the elections for many years.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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