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East Auckland community uniting to curb street racing

The ongoing and historic problem caused by street racers in Cockle Bay has resulted in community members joining forces with police and the local MP, Christopher Luxon, to combat the issue.

Cockle Bay Beach Source: istock.com

It comes following a public meeting on Tuesday night amid fears car racing along parts of the suburb including Shelly Beach Parade, would cause a death.

For a number of years, arguably a decade, there have been street racers which have been a real irritant to the residents in the Cockle Bay area,” Luxon, the Botany MP, said.

A serious accident at the end of May resulted in a car crashing into a power pole and then bursting into flames. It left one person with serious injuries and parts of Cockle Bay without power. Another person suffered moderate injuries during the incident.

A vehicle crashed into a power pole in Cockle Bay in late May 2021. Source: Supplied

On Tuesday night, 75 locals attended a community meeting hosted by Luxon. A representative from Auckland Transport (AT) also showed up along with several Howick Local Board members.

While local police were unable to attend the meeting, a spokesperson responded to queries from 1 NEWS.

“Police are aware of some concerns around “street racing” activity in the Howick/Cockle Bay area and we have maintained, and at times increased, our police presence to address this issue and reassure the community,” they said.

It was “worth noting that this type of activity and other high-risk driver behaviour is generally more prevalent in Botany, East Tamaki and Burswood”, the spokesperson added.

Danny Wright has lived in the Cockle Bay area for about three years but says since moving he has often lain in bed thinking, “I’ve moved into Hampton Downs”.

He says other residents say it’s been a long-standing issue of “hooligan behaviour” for decades.

Wright says he was told that residents tried to address the issue nine years ago with AT, police and local councillors but “nothing has been done” so he decided to lead the charge in developing a solution.

Wright says he moved his family-of-four to Cockle Bay because it seemed like a quiet, well established neighbourhood with a family atmosphere and great schools.

“But the local driving hooligans are ruining it for everyone”.

He says he wants support from local transport, AT and police otherwise it’s just “all talk”.

“We want to hold them accountable and see some action to solving this problem.”

Wright says there are long-standing residents living there and “we are all prepared to fight for this”.

He said that while police say other areas of east Auckland also have street racing issues, his community has had enough. 

“It might be bad in those areas too but we’re not going to stand for it anymore and we’re doing something about it in our neighbourhood.”

Luxon said there “was good engagement” from the community and the meeting led to the development of “an action plan led by the local residents”.

He said the plan will focus on taking AT on a tour of the area "to see the different issues and risks up close, research the pros and cons around cameras, speed bumps/tables as well as a potential speed limit change".

Luxon said the plan also incorporated “the creation of a central repository for community communication and incidents, exploration of the different funding streams, and police engagement to understand best practice in New Zealand dealing with these issues”.

Locals in Cockle Bay are weary of street racers causing havoc. Source: Supplied

A second public meeting is planned for mid-September to discuss developments further.