Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace has refuted claims that neighbours who pushed for a paedophile to be removed from their community acted hysterically.
The Department of Corrections bowed to pressure yesterday from the area, removing the sex offender from his placement in the suburb of Maungaraki. He has since been held in a facility on the grounds of Christchurch Men's Prison.
Criminologist Greg Newbold claimed this morning the neighbourhood was being "paranoid", "hysterical", and "ridiculous", because there was no real risk to the children of the area.
Mr Wallace said in response that residents were in their rights to give the child sex offender the boot.
"The neighbours have been respectful, but they've been in a state of shock, of disbelief and I think that's totally justified, but it is certainly not hysteria," he said.
Mr Wallace will meet with Corrections later this week to ask that the man be housed permanently at Rimutaka Prison.
Maungaraki resident Cushla O'Neil, who has been campaigning on the issue, said they're still taking their petition to parliament to "try to change the legislation around people that are on extended supervisory or public protection orders, that they really shouldn't be held in private residences in communities."
Jane Maltby, Wellington President of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the decision to remove the paedophile was disappointing, arguing that Corrections' backdown sends a dangerous message and perpetuates stigma.
"Corrections have already said that the sex offender has been in the community for ten years and has not re-offended and you have to take from that that he's not a risk to society," she said.