Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Election signage damaged (+video)

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Damage to election signage across the Rotorua district is costing candidates time and money to repair and replace them.

Rotorua Lakes Council candidate Tania Tapsell said five of her election signs were either damaged or stolen on the weekend.

She said two were stolen completely - one within two hours of her putting it up - one was burnt, and two others cut and damaged by someone with a craft knife.

But, she was not the only person to report damage to signs, with mayor Steve Chadwick saying it happens every election.

Miss Tapsell said a sign erected on Ford Rd went missing within two hours and a sign on Pohutukawa Dr also disappeared without trace.

"Another one we put up on Clayton Rd was burned and ruined.

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"The other two got cut by someone with a craft knife, we found a blade on the ground next to one of them."

But, she said she took the theft and vandalism in good spirit and said one person had got in touch with her saying they had removed graffiti from one of her signs and wished her luck in the election.

"I find it quite entertaining, we have a laugh and put another one up.

"But, the billboards are the most expensive part of my campaign, plus there's the time involved. I suppose any candidate who is prepared has a back up sign or two."

She said last election she had about 10 signs damaged or go missing.

Mrs Chadwick said she had at least two signs defaced on the weekend.

"I don't see anything sinister in it, it's what happens in an election and I don't feel hurt by it.

"Over the years I've had cigarettes and all sorts of things hanging out of my mouth painted on my signs, so it's better to take it lightly and move on.

"But, it costs every candidate and it's expensive to keep replacing them."

She said if the people damaging signs spent more time getting engaged with what was happening in the city they could use their time more constructively.

"They don't seem to target any one individual, but I don't think I'll be ordering any more."

She said one group of candidates also put one of her signs back up after it was blown over.

"That was very nice of them, a real touch of kindness," she said.

Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group chairwoman Glenys Searancke said as far as she knew only one of the group's signs had been vandalised, at Lake Rotoiti.

"We haven't replaced it and we will leave it the way it is because you can still read most of it.

"This happens every election and you can't do much about it unless people are caught red-handed," she said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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