Aban­doned car ruins tourist town’s ap­peal

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - AUDREY MALONE

Smashed-up cars can lie aban­doned on the side of the road for weeks be­fore any gov­ern­ment author­ity will take ac­tion.

Just ask Mata­mata’s Kevin Buck­ley.

He watched a car that crashed be­tween Christ­mas and New Year sit be­side the ‘‘Wel­come to Mata­mata’’ sign for nearly three weeks be­fore he got so fed up he had it towed him­self.

Af­ter sit­ting for a cou­ple of weeks on a patch of grass within the town boundary by State High­way 27, he no­ticed the tyres had dis­ap­peared.

Then, a day later, he no­ticed that the num­ber plates had gone.

‘‘Af­ter that, the win­dows are smashed up and they’re set on fire.

‘‘That’s what al­ways hap­pens,’’ Buck­ley said.

Buck­ley did not want peo­ple think­ing poorly of his town - es­pe­cially dur­ing peak tourist sea­son. With Hob­biton close by, Mata­mata the side of the road and the bus­loads of tourists owner could con­tact him to days. get it back.

So he de­cided enough was ‘‘The po­lice said I would be enough and it was time to sort do­ing them a favour. I was the out the mat­ter. third per­son that day who had

First he called Mata­mat­a­called them about it.’’ Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil, where He had it towed it to his he was told it was a New Zeaprop­erty, where it still sits. land Trans­port Agency matThe fa­ther of the car owner, ter, as the car was on a state who pre­sum­ably got his high­way. de­tails from po­lice, Buck­ley

So Buck­ley called NZTA, said, called him that af­ter­which told him it was a coun­noon and washed his hands of cil mat­ter. the car.

When he fur­ther ex­plained ‘‘There is no re­spon­si­bil­ity he had al­ready spo­ken to the by ve­hi­cle own­ers. It should coun­cil, the gov­ern­ment be com­pul­sory to have or­gan­i­sa­tion gave Buck­ley a in­sur­ance, be­cause if the car ref­er­ence num­ber and said was in­sured, the in­sur­ance that now the mat­ter was com­pany would have towed re­ported, the car owner had a the car.‘‘ fur­ther nine work­ing days to Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict re­move the car be­fore the Coun­cil spokesman Eion agency could act. Scott said in this in­stance, the

That would mean the car onus lay at the feet of NZTA. would be sit­ting there for over As it was a state high­way a month, so an ex­as­per­ated that the crashed car sat on, it Buck­ley got on the phone to was an NZTA is­sue, de­spite the po­lice. be­ing within the town boun

He asked the cops if he dary. could move it to his prop­erty NZTA did not re­spond to at his own cost just to get it off sev­eral calls. sees most

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