19 Feb 2019

Māngere Bridge locals demand action on late night antics

6:56 am on 19 February 2019

Auckland Council and police have come under intense pressure from frustrated residents demanding something is finally done about drunken parties and street racing at a notorious local hang-out.

Māngere Bridge residents have challenged authorities to come up with solutions.

Māngere Bridge residents have challenged authorities to come up with solutions. Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

Hundreds of people packed out the Māngere Bridge School hall at a community meeting on Monday night to discuss the worsening anti-social behaviour - with a shooting on Sunday the latest in a string of incidents.

Residents lined the walls and spilled outside the hall because there were not enough seats for everyone.

They told stories of dumped rubbish, including shotgun cartridges, sleepless nights, and being ignored and bounced around by authorities.

One woman, Sharon, said she'd had enough.

"Who in the audience has actually given up ringing because nobody actually comes, nobody actually responds, they get pissed off when you ring and it's just a complete waste of time?" she asked.

"I know myself when I was ringing, I was ringing five, six times a night... I was doing the same thing council, police, police, council."

Representatives from the local board, police, Auckland Transport, and the Transport Agency were all at the meeting.

Sharon challenged them to come up with solutions.

"You can't go away and tick your little box coming tonight and do nothing further with it."

Another woman, Hayley, said her father's neighbour found shotgun cartridges near the bridge and handed them in to the police.

She was unimpressed when officers were not able to tell her what they had done to investigate.

"I would have expected you would have known background and at least looked into some of those behaviours," she said.

"I mean that was three weeks ago, [we're talking about] shotgun cartridges - I would have thought that was pretty serious."

Mayor Phil Goff admitted liquor and parking bans had not worked.

He said extra lighting did not deter anyone either.

"I accept that the actions that have been taken to date, well intended though they were, have not been sufficient," he said.

Police representatives said residents' concerns were real and legitimate.

They said dealing with the problem was a matter of working with council and monitoring the bridge.

Proposed solutions included gates to keep people out at night and having police officers patrol the area every night for two weeks.

But perhaps the most well-received solution came towards the end, when one resident, Ben Ale, said they needed to get to the root of the problem - the people committing the crimes.

"They're all a part of the greater community, we need to find out who they are," he said.

"Maybe we need to reach out to them and ... say, 'Hey look, what are you doing? You should be home'."

It was an idea met with thunderous applause.

The meeting was organised by the Māngere Residents and Ratepayers Association.

Its chairperson, Val Payne, told the authorities to take note and come back with a solution by next month.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs