Four-wheel-drive enthusiasts were forced to turn back after Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara placed a rāhui on vehicles entering Muriwai Beach at midday following Sunday’s fatality – a move supported by Auckland Council.
“It’s sad but young people make poor decisions. They don’t mitigate risks well and as a parent, I don’t want to get the phone call that they’ve received,” Bailey said.
Bailey, who chairs the Rodney District board, is calling for a ban.
“Until such time as you can figure out how to manage the conflict between the different communities along this beach, I believe you should ban it,” he said.
Bailey’s colleague on the board, Geoff Upson, has been talking to 4WD clubs who say a ban would ruin it for the vast majority of responsible drivers.
“It’s an unfortunate event but the argument is right if you’re going to close the beach because one person has done something dangerous and injured or killed somebody,” Upson said.
“I mean shouldn’t we be applying that same logic to every single road where we’ve had a fatal or serious injury crash on.”
Bruce Wilton said he has been driving safely on the beach for 70 years.
“At 81 years of age I don’t really want to walk home,” he told Newshub.
He and his family all have permits to go on the beach.
He questioned how there would be a ban on vehicles until they work out what to do with the hoons.
“How are you going to do that?” he asked.
“If you ban them then what will happen ultimately, guys will break out and they go straight through.
“So in other words they’ll just go down the road here, they’ll do a four-wheel-drive across the top of the hills and they’re gone.”
It’s not the first such incident on the beach – in 2015 four people died.
The stretch of Muriwai Beach reopened for recreational users a week ago after this year’s holiday break and there was a flurry of activity during the first weekend. Newshub understands a ute was doing doughnuts but suddenly flipped.
Upson believes the messaging needs to be clearer.
“I would like to see a big sign, huge big sign that says ‘stop, permit required. Free. Auckland Council website’ – something along the lines of that,” he told Newshub.
Scott de Silva, who’s the manager of Auckland’s regional parks, said they and police struggle with resourcing to manage vehicles on the beach but they have been pushing the safety message.
“We’ve had a long campaign here around driving on the beach and we continue to be reinforcing it but unfortunately the circumstances that happened yesterday, they weren’t picked up and they made some wrong calls,” he said.
The vehicle rāhui on Muriwai Beach will continue untl Thursday.