Boy racers' intimidation won't work, says mayor

By Jarrod Booker

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker is brushing off intimidation by boy racers, who surrounded his home and appeared to threaten to drive on to his property.

Mr Parker, better known to many New Zealanders as a former host of television show This is Your Life, has been an outspoken critic of the boy racers plaguing Christchurch and his stance has made him a target.

His council is introducing a New Zealand-first anti-cruising bylaw aimed at stopping noisy modified cars driving repeatedly along the same streets.

Many boy racers drove around the city centre in a weekend protest before the bylaw comes into effect on Thursday.

Last Thursday the mayor's central Christchurch home, where he lives with his wife Joanna Nicholls-Parker, was the target.

"At one point our property was surrounded, and there was a fair bit of noise that did necessitate us making a call to the police," Mr Parker told the Herald. "There was a fair bit of shouting going on, and revving of motors and loud music. We saw one truck line up opposite our gates, as if they might be thinking about ramming them. But in the end nothing happened."

By the time police arrived, the boy racers had fled. "These attacks are fairly well co-ordinated. So they don't stay long. They are pretty used to the reaction of police times in the central city."

The incident is not the first intimidation Mr Parker and his wife have faced, and it won't make the mayor back down.

"We've actually had people over the fence in the past doing a bit of damage to our place. But it's not something that's too big a deal, frankly.

"A lot of people in this city have had to put up with a lot more than that. It's just one of those things."

Inspector Derek Erasmus of Christchurch said police responded quickly to the situation at Mr Parker's home.

Police always made sure that any properties that could be the target of intimidation were looked after, he said.

The new anti-cruising bylaw means that a motorist can be fined up to $1000 when a car drives repeatedly over the same section of road in a way that draws attention to the sound or power of the vehicle's engine.

While Christchurch is the first to introduce it, Mr Parker said many other councils around the country were talking to Christchurch staff about it, and watching to see how it worked.

YOU CRUISE, YOU LOSE

*The anti-cruising bylaw prohibits cruising on selected city streets seven days a week between 10pm and 5am.

*This is when a car drives repeatedly over the same section of road in a way that draws attention to the sound or power of the vehicle's engine.

*Breaching the bylaw can attract a fine of up to $1000.

*It is effective from July 1.

- NZ Herald

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