Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Rotorua has banned criminals with five or more dishonesty convictions from entering the Central Business District (CBD). The criminals will be issued with trespass notices banning them from the main streets of Rotorua.

Eleven out of twelve councillors, including the Rotorua mayor, supported the by-law along with support from the police.

Kevin Winters, Mayor of Rotorua, said “The ban also had the support of local businesses, who wanted an end to the thefts, assaults, shoplifting and other street crime on Rotorua streets. Crime was an issue in the area. Five strikes and you’re out.”

The trespass notice would ban the offenders from the CBD for three months, but would allow them to enter if they had appointments or emergencies.

They would have CCTV cameras operated by volunteers to catch offenders breaking the trespass notice.

However Bill Hodge, constitutional law expert, said “It’s the king’s highway and you’ve got a right to go down the king’s highway…so I don’t think they can treat you as a trespasser for going down the street.”

The councillors would review the impact of the legislation in three years time.

Rotorua already has legislation similar to this one acting at the Kuirau Park, Government Gardens and the Lakefront.

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