Angry Wanganui residents have vowed to do whatever it takes to stop the Beast of Blenheim moving to the area when he is released from prison next month.
Tempers flared at a community meeting today to debate how to counter serial sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson's parole to the Wanganui district.
Those at the meeting, called last week by councillors Michael Laws and Ray Stevens, endorsed $10,000 of ratepayers' money to fund a judicial review of the conditions for Wilson's release.
The 65-year-old known as the Beast of Blenheim is to be released from prison on September 1 after being sentenced to 21 years in March 1996.
He was convicted for 25 years of sexual offending against women and girls, including offences of rape, stupefying, wilful ill-treatment of a child and bestiality.
The Corrections Department ruled Wilson will live in a state house on Whanganui Prison property and must be accompanied by minders if he leaves.
Despite assurances he will be subject to the strictest parole conditions of any New Zealand prisoner ever released, the Wanganui community is fighting the decision.
Councillor Jack Bullock called for urgent action at today's meeting, which was attended by about 200 people.
Mr Bullock and six other councillors signed a direction to the chief executive of the Wanganui District Council to call a full meeting "at the earliest opportunity for the purpose of discussing and deciding policy'' to stop Wilson moving into the region.
The meeting adopted two resolutions: that the community reject the parole and that the council take "all actions - legal, political and administrative - to ensure that Wilson is not paroled to the district''.
Two police officers attended the meeting, which heard heated opinions from angry residents.
Resident Kathy Vervoek said she had lived near the prison her whole life and had a 17-year-old daughter, one of five girls, still living at home with her.
Her daughter was a sporty, outgoing girl who regularly ran past the prison and collected pinecones from the forest.
She would no longer be doing either of those things.
"She's already a victim because she's already frightened,'' Ms Vervoek said.
Wilson has launched a legal challenge against his strict parole conditions.
- APNZBy Kieran Campbell @KieranCampbell Email Kieran, Kathryn King