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"Checkpoints!" "Stop-Go Men!" "Extortion?" 

The story that appeared in the 'Weekend Herald' about stand-over tactics at Koputauaki would certainly have raised blood pressure amongst certain elements on the Peninsula, but there is something that does not quite ring true about the tactics apparently being used to extract 'tribute.'  

I began to doubt the efficacy of the story when I read the comments attributed to Laurna White (Communications Manager) and Greg Hampton (Area Manager). They appeared not to be aware of the tactics allegedly being used by the supposed 'collectors.' There is no way that they could possibly have defended the collection methods described by the 'Herald' reporter in the story.

The use of stop-go signs for other than hazardous situations is illegal - that is a given. along with the statement "It's a gold coin donation to get through." I simply cannot believe that these tactics would be used without rapid intervention by the authorities had it been reported, and for Laurna or Greg to even suggest that such tactics were "legal" is simply unbelievable. 

On closer examination, it is clear that the reporter has either been led astray, made it up, or omitted salient details when seeking comment from Laurna and Greg. Any subbie worth his/her salt would have spiked the story before it got into print as needing corroboration - completely absent in this case even if accompanied by an unacknowledged photograph.

I regard it a complete furphy until confirmed as described. Certainly fundraising from the road-side is legal, and a long used method. Hindering traffic or charging 'fees' to use a public road is not, and to print such an inflammatory story without corroboration, and in this manner is irresponsible. It only takes a couple of inserted words by an over-excited young journo to achieve that result.   

I hope that Laurna and Greg take the necessary steps to correct the impression that has been left in the minds of many potential travellers to the Coromandel. The story should not be ignored.





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