In an interview with radio host Bryan Vickery on Hokonui Taranaki, Craig Baylis, South Taranaki District Council mayoral candidate has announced that if he’s elected as mayor, he’ll do everything in his power to have Hawera’s long time squatter removed.
Derek is Hawera’s only known squatter and has been in the town’s CBD for near three years outside the former Oxygen retail store.
In the interview, Baylis mentions the current council’s lack of intervention and he’s had enough to the point that if elected, he will enact a bylaw to ensure Derek is removed and anyone else who tries to squat in South Taranaki towns CBD’s removed also.
If I am successful in my mayoral run, I will use every resource available to me as mayor to remove Derek. – Baylis
Host Brian Vickery invited mayoral candidates Clem Coxhead and Phil Nixon to touch on the subject.
Clem Coxhead said “I feel disappointment after hearing the interview between Craig and Bryan. I will never agree to doing anything that uses people especially those who are finding life difficult. Some people will see this attitude as being tough but most of us don’t. I have always found Craig kind and friendly and feel let down by this situation.”
This isn’t the first time Bryan Vickery has touched on the subject of Derek. in 2018 he interviewed Glenn Bennet about what could be done about South Taranaki’s homeless.
Racquel Cleaver who’s running for council commented on the controversial Facebook post which has been viewed over 3,000 times that everybody in the South Taranaki community matters and we have to try and work together to find mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone. I feel that’s a council and leaders role.
I Feel sad listening to this and hoping Craig didn’t mean for it to sound quite so cruel.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui Trust kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said in a statement that attacking the vulnerable like Derek who can’t defend themselves is the lowest of low and is not the type of Mayor this district needs.
This town will be up in arms if Craig attempts to move Derek himself as he stated in his interview with Bryan Vickery. Caring for our vulnerable is fundamental to being a Mayor and shame on Craig and his supporters for using those less fortunate to win political points!
Phil Nixon said he believes a bylaw is not the appropriate way to deal with the situation we have in Hāwera. Bylaws tried in other parts of the country have proven to be ineffective and difficult to enforce, because you are dealing, in most cases, with people who are trying to cope a range of complex issues. In some cases these bylaws have ended up in court, (more cost to ratepayers).
If elected Mayor I will be committed to working with all involved, to implement the appropriate assistance needed in different situations, relating to our vulnerable people.
This may include government agencies, iwi and families, to deal with the most venerable people in our community (including Derek), to find a long-term solution that works for all. Experience shows some of these situations are very complex to sort and as a community we need to be moving forward together to find solutions.