The tiny West Coast town that pressured a convicted paedophile to leave says it will fight for a law change so other communities do not have to repeat the fight.
The man, aged in his mid-60s, was driven out of Blackball by angry locals who set up camp opposite his house at the weekend.
Last night, 70 of the town’s 360 residents gathered to express their anger at the Department of Corrections’ decision to allow the man to live in Blackball without wide consultation.
He was released from prison last year and moved to the town a month ago, but continued reporting to his Christchurch probation officer.
The man, who has five convictions between the 1960s and 2003 and is considered high-risk, did not seek permission to live in Blackball and is being prosecuted by Corrections for failing to notify it of his move. But the department approved his shift after learning he had moved.
Senior Sergeant Clifford Paxton, of Greymouth, said police initially had "serious concerns" for community safety. They spoke to the local school and a warning note was sent home with pupils.
Paul Tomlinson, southern regional manager for the Community Probation Service, said last night that the decision to allow the man to stay in Blackball was based on the risk to the community and the support available to him.
Alan Gurden, who led the protest outside the house, questioned Corrections’ approach.
"You decided this little town was a safe place but you couldn’t even see fit to give us [notice]. Why is it you can put this man in our town as a social experiment?"
Mr Gurden said residents would lobby the Government to ensure there was more consultation with communities in similar situations