Tauranga bus drivers racially abused, threatened

Photo: RNZ

Tauranga bus drivers are facing racial abuse and death threats from local school boys hanging out at the city's transport hub, First Union says.

Bay of Plenty Regional council says there's been vandalism of buses and public facilities as well as threats of violence directed at the public.

The council met with Tauranga Boys' College, and says college staff are making regular visits to the Willow Street bus interchange after school to talk to students gathering there.

Police have also increased patrols in the area.

"We've got some really bad antisocial behaviors down in the CBD of Tauranga... There's a select clique of school boys from Tauranga Boys College," First Union organiser Graham McKean told Checkpoint.

"They've been destroying the local toilets, that's been broken twice now. Buses have been broken into and graffitied.

"The drivers are being racially abused and one of the drivers has had death threats against him," McKean says.

"They're feeling intimidated, bullied, harassed. The Indian and Korean drivers are suffering a lot of racial profiling and abuse as well...it's something that happens to them on a daily basis."

The group is made up of about 20 teenage boys in school uniform who are passengers on the buses, he said.

"They're known to the college, they're known to the police. They're known to the council. It's not a new thing. It's something that's been happening for a period of time and it doesn't seem to have been resolved."

McKean understands that RTD bottles have been found in the toilet blocks and the children have been seen drinking alcohol.

"It just triggers levels of mayhem."

He says the union hopes the stakeholder groups and the community will come together and look at protecting the bus drivers, the local store owners and the public.

"The discussion I'm having with the drivers is they don't want to go through there, they want me to call a health and safety strike and all the First Union members not to stop there but go further down and away from that area."


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Posted on 21-04-2022 14:40 | By morepork

Thanks for very sensible response. Solutions come from ideas, and ideas come from discussion. SunLive is doing a briliant job of providing a platform for a wide set of viewpoints. (I only get censored very occasionaly and usually it was something beyond the pale... :-))

@ morepork

Posted on 19-04-2022 20:38 | By Yadick

Charge them both I could totally accept. I think that would work very well. The charge for both must be proportionate with the crime. In saying that I’m torn with the idea of putting kids into ’other’ care. So many kids have been abused due to this but yes, I hear you and understand what your saying. It’s a real difficult one. I believe the age of criminal responsibility should come down to 14yrs or bare minimum 16yrs. 11yrs, like you say is going to need to be on the parents. It might be positive community service, intensive parenting course, Probation - which is overwhelmed, TF Military service, a combination of some/all. It’s a real tough one. I don’t have an answer - I have idea’s . . .


Posted on 19-04-2022 12:52 | By morepork

Thanks for your response which I considered at length. I take your point that some parents ARE at their wit’s end but we are discussing a specific group of tearaways here. It is simply unacceptable for bus drivers to be abused and for facilities to be vandalized. Perhaps the answer lies with both our suggestions: lower the criminal age and charge kids, AND make parents liable for the actions of their offspring. SOMEBODY has to take responsibility for the mayhem we are seeing. I believe the threat that kids may be placed in care is a potent one for all concerned. We should also remember that there are a majority of kids who are NOT problematic, and even doing positive action. It is the extreme edge groups that need extreme action. If you are going to charge 11 year-olds, what will you do with them when guilty?

@ morepork

Posted on 18-04-2022 21:21 | By Yadick

I hear you and as you know I respect you, however not all the parents have assets. It’s not always the parents fault these days. Kids are going to rebel because the law, not the parents lets them. There’s some very good parents at their absolute wits end. It doesn’t make them bad or neglectful parents. Kids have way too many rights and too many goody goodies looking out for them. Times have changed since you and I were kids. Recently 11yr olds driving cars for ram raids etc. They have no respect, no integrity and no intention of considering it. Time to bring the age of adult crime responsibility down to meet today’s society. If parents are held responsible, and sometimes I agree they should be, a lot of these kids don’t care and neither do they learn that actions have consequences. I respectfully hold unapologetically to my comment.


Posted on 16-04-2022 16:21 | By Informed

Isn’t it good, that a publication that continues to publish articles by known racists, allow racist comments and encourage the abuse of public servants, then wonders why the boomers of Tauranga are the laughing stock of NZ. The comments on this article are a classic example where the stale and pale attack anyone but themselves. No doubt this comment won’t be published. Since it appears that Sunlive will freely publish comments attacking others. But no one can dare criticize them……….

Note to the legal profession/Magistrates.

Posted on 16-04-2022 13:31 | By morepork

There is an increase in wild behaviour by young people and, whatever the reasons for it, the community is running out of patience with lenient sentences that have no effect long term. Maybe a first offender gets some slack, but the recidivists need to be made aware that they are on a bad path. The Court should address parents in all these cases and make it clear that parents have a responsibility to the community for the behaviour of their offspring, until they reach legal age. If legally possible, parents can/should be charged for the actions of their children. At the very least, parents should be seriously warned.

@Let's Get Real

Posted on 16-04-2022 13:23 | By morepork

My position on the buses is a matter of record here; we need a smaller, more agile fleet of smaller buses as in Hong Kong. Not quite a tuk tuk city, but not good for Buffalo buses either. As for the ongoing abuse of Bus staff, I don’t think we can just roll over and accept it. These people are doing a valuable service to the community and abusing them is about as sensible as abusing paramedics or firemen...makes no sense at all. If kids are seeing this as "easy victims" then we have to address that, and I believe the way to do that is by holding the parents responsible. Parents must meet the costs of damage and reparation, and the kids need to get community service (and it must be seen to be done). The message from the community must be that this is completely unacceptable.


Posted on 16-04-2022 13:12 | By morepork

You can’t get blood out of a stone. These kids (even if they COULD be charged) have no assets. But the parents do. Reparation must be made and the kids need to know that it will be. See how long their parents keep ignoring them when it hits their pockets... If a parent gets a jail term for repeated offending by a child, and there is a very real chance the kid will be placed in care... it all becomes horribly real very quickly. For everyone concerned. That’s when it may be possible to actually reach some of these families and get a better outcome. A sentence can be suspended, pending probation reports etc... In most cases it won’t come to that because the knowledge that it COULD, should have the desired effect, and get people looking for a proper solution... Current efforts are failing; change gear...

Hang on...

Posted on 16-04-2022 12:59 | By morepork

People avoiding buses, and buses avoiding the stop are not solutions. The problem is a gang of young thugs who have found they can get away with mayhem and destruction, because the school and the Bus people have failed to handle them. These kids need to learn that they are entitled to an opinion (no matter how repugnant it may be to most people) but the minute they damage property or intimidate or abuse the driver, they are in trouble. There is a line, and if they step over it, the matter will go to their parents. As I have consistently said here, we should be chasing the parents and making them responsible for the behaviour of their kids in public. Charge the parents with the disorderly conduct and criminal damage done by their kids; until the kids are of legal age. Actions have consequences. Reparations must be made.

No surprises here

Posted on 16-04-2022 10:26 | By Let's get real

Abuse, threats and assaults on bus drivers have been happening for years. The standing joke with many long time drivers is that " it would be a fantastic job if there weren’t any passengers". The only time that the buses are full is before and after school hours so nothing will be done because otherwise patronage numbers will indicate that the city only needs a fleet of tandem bicycles or tuk-tuks.

All Probability

Posted on 16-04-2022 09:26 | By Yadick

They’re known to and have been dealt with by Youth Aid as well. They think they’re old enough to drink and tough enough to run as a pack then I think they’re old enough to face adult court and convictions. To you thugs and bullies, I’ll bet your mother’s are really proud of you and your actions but then again I guess you’re not tough enough to tell your mother’s. Unfortunately Mr. Union man, I hear you but these kids nowadays have so many rights protecting them it could backfire on us so easily and we end up charged while they party with Youth Aid.

Come on Tauranga Boys College

Posted on 16-04-2022 09:18 | By Womby

Suspend or get rid of this rabble, this is a school with a proud history and doesn’t need this nationwide publicity. Have you not got a “Jack Pringle” style discipline teacher anymore to pull them into line? Perhaps they need a bit of a fright from the law to straighten them up before they end up where they’re heading


Posted on 16-04-2022 08:15 | By Kancho

Poor people who have to put up with low life public and all on low pay for such a responsible job. Another good reason for not going on a bus

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