Cut off their funding and/or arrest them

The Waikato Times reports:

Coromandel group Koputauaki Combined Community Centre carried out illegal fundraising after they stopped cars on an open road and asked for gold coin donations.

People from the centre set up traffic cones on a 100kmh stretch of Colville Rd, north of Coromandel town, over the weekend and reportedly asked motorists to donate a gold coin before they were allowed through to continue their journey.

They used stop signs. This is surely illegal. If possible, Police should arrest them.

A fundraiser had stood on either side of the van, with a third person in front so it was not possible to just drive off, although no one behaved in a threatening way. 

“They were very jaunty … but they spoke as if it was their right,” the woman, who did not want to be identified, said.

The man asked her at least five times for money, even though she told him there was no cash in the vehicle.

“We had to say repeatedly we didn’t carry cash. They wouldn’t take no for an answer,” she said.

That is thuggish behaviour.

Thames Coromandel District Council said the activities breached a council bylaw, and that council had spoken to its lawyers about the breach.

Council’s Thames area manager, Greg Hampton, said the centre did not apply for a permit for the fundraising, so had breached a bylaw. A permit is required under the Public Places Bylaw, and the group also should have submitted a traffic management plan, Hampton said.

Hampton could not confirm whether council was considering legal action.

“We haven’t really discussed that yet, and we haven’t had an official complaint.”

Oh for God’s sake, don’t hide behind that. You’ll become a pariah destination if you allow this to continue. Do whatever it takes to stop this.

The centre has received $66,000 in grants in recent years from a range of funding providers, including council.

The centre was established as a community society which “promotes sociability and good fellowship” among members and provides services that benefit the community.

It’s simple. Tell the group that if they ever do this sort of thing again, they’ll never get another cent from the Council, or other funding sources.

Controversial blogger Cameron Slater weighed in on the debate, stating on his Whale Oil blog that the activities were “highway robbery”. 

“Imagine this sort of carry-on popping up all over the place? This needs to be stamped out, and stamped out hard.”

I agree with Cameron.

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