Gathering rumours denied

Nelson Mail 16 November 1999

Police have dismissed rumours that this year's Gathering will be targeted by groups intent on wreaking havoc at the event.

Detective Sergeant Derek Milne of Motueka police said police had been aware of the rumours for several months, and had followed them up to see if there was any substance to them.

Two sources, from Christchurch and Wellington, told The Nelson Mail they had heard rumours that groups going to the New Year dance party on Takaka Hill would lash out at partygoers with pre-planned violence.

Mr Milne said The Gathering was plagued by all kinds of rumours every year, and police had checked this one out to try to trace the source of it.

But he said there was absolutely no truth to it.

"We have carried out risk assessments and have put contingency plans in place," he said.

Mr Milne would not say what those contingency plans were, but said he was happy with security for The Gathering. He did not know if there would be a police presence at the 48-hour event.

Gathering organiser Murray Kingi said the rumours were an example of "Chinese whispers" which had got out of control.

Gathering publicist Alison Green said security for the event had already been organised, and she was confident there would be no trouble.

Nelson Mail, 16 November 1999

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