Vandals orchestrate campaign to trash Labour Party hoardings

Sometimes painting over the word “Stopping” has resulted in an acceptable fix for Ms Lubeck.
Sometimes painting over the word “Stopping” has resulted in an acceptable fix for Ms Lubeck.

Vandalism has ranged from smashing signs to altering them with manufactured signage materials.
Vandalism has ranged from smashing signs to altering them with manufactured signage materials.

Fourteen Labour Party billboards and counting have been broken, defaced or stolen in Rodney in the last four weeks, in what appears to be targeted vandalism.

Kaipara ki Mahurangi Labour Party candidate Marja Lubeck says the signs were put up by a team of six elderly volunteers and having them vandalised has been demoralising.

“It was already challenging to fundraise the hundreds of dollars to put them up in the first place,” Ms Lubeck says.

It has cost Ms Lubeck $600 so far to replace the billboards, and she says she will soon run out of funds.

“Eventually you have to say enough is enough. But, then democracy has been undermined.”

Ms Lubeck says she would have preferred not to put up signs in the first place, but she was encouraged by supporters to do so.

She believes vandals are trying to make a statement with their defacing of signs, but says there are more constructive ways to criticise.

“If you have a political opinion, write to your local newspaper. If you want to contribute to positive change, take some food to your local food bank or donate to Hospice.”

Ms Lubeck says she was alerted to some of the vandalism by residents who did not believe it was befitting of the community to display defaced images of the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Vandalising election hoardings is illegal and perpetrators can be fined up to $2000 or face up to three months imprisonment under section 11 of the Summary Offences Act 1981.

“If anyone sees someone vandalising a billboard, they could take down their number plate and let me know,” Ms Lubeck says.

Some of the signs appeared to be defaced with professionally manufactured signage materials and feature elaborate modifications to the design.

Ms Lubeck has drawn some comfort from the fact that occasionally the word “Stopping” has been pasted over the word “Moving”, leaving the signs to read “Let’s keep stopping Labour”.

Repairing the signs by painting out the word “Stopping” has left them reading “Let’s keep … Labour” – a message Ms Lubeck is entirely comfortable with.


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