Traffic blocks hill road
People travelling between Nelson and Golden Bay yesterday were being advised to add an hour to their estimated travelling time as cars bound for The Gathering on Canaan Downs blocked the Takaka Hill.
Police said traffic problems started soon after 9am, although the gates for the 8000 or more people expected at the two-day dance party were not due to open until noon.
Difficulty in maintaining a good traffic flow was expected on the narrow access road across Canaan Downs but a police spokesman said the traffic build-up had also affected the State highway over the Takaka hill. There were severe delays for people heading towards Takaka, and people travelling across the hill from Golden Bay were also experiencing difficulties.
Five officers from Motueka, and Takaka staff already committed for millennium policing, were stationed on the hill throughout the day.
However, police plan to keep a low profile at The Gathering.
Senior Sergeant Bob Burns of the Nelson Police said security at the party was normally handled by the organisers and that there would be a minimal police presence. "You could take 60 cops up there and make a lot of arrests but at the end of the day it doesn't achieve much."