Attack rumours probed

Christchurch Press - 24 December 1999

WELLINGTON - Detectives probing rumours that a white supremacist group plan mass murder at New Year events in the South Island have found no evidence of any planned attack.

The rumours have been circulating for the past two months.

Detective Sergeant Derek Milne, of Motueka, said police were taking the rumours seriously, and had spoken to white supremacist goups.

Attempts to track the rumour to its source petered out.

Mr Milne said that the story generally involved a white supremacist group from the South Island's West Coast planning a mass murder at The Gathering, near Nelson, or in Christchurch's Catherdral Square at New Year.

One variation on the theme involved police uncovering a stash of firearms at the Nelson venue, which is a big attraction for young people.

This year will see the fourth annual Gathering, at Canaan Downs, on Takaka Hill. Past events have begun at noon on New Year's Eve, and lasted for two days.

Mr Milne said about 10,000 people were expected - including 8,500 ticket holders, up to 1000 crew, and the possibility of 1000 people entering with counterfeit passes - and police don't expect problems.

Police have a good relationship with event organisers and say an alcohol ban is the reason for the traditional trouble-free atmosphere.

It is widely accepted that many of those who attend The Gathering are stoned instead.

NZPA, Christchurch Press 24 December 1999

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