A Lower Hutt council candidate is shocked after becoming the victim of racist attacks, which saw a number of her billboards vandalised.
Shazly Rasheed, who's running for the council for the first time, has had five billboards damaged, she said. Her face was stabbed and "disturbing, racist" messages were written on them.
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Rasheed took to social media on Sunday about the vandalism. Photos posted to Facebook by her show the signs tagged with swastikas, and messages saying "f**k you bitch", "f**k the Jews", and "slag eat sh*t" among other bigotry.
She told Newshub she never considered the billboards could be vandalised with "racist, hateful" messages.
"My reaction to this was this is not okay," Rasheed told Newshub. "To see people so filled with hatred is very disturbing."
Rasheed is originally from the Maldives, but has lived in New Zealand for 24 years and Lower Hutt for 20 years. She owns a beauty salon and loves Lower Hutt for its "diversity and inclusiveness".
The attacks weren't going to halt her running for the council.
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"It's actually made me want to do this [run for the council] more," she told Newshub.
"This has made me more determined to fight for inclusiveness and diversity."
It was unclear who committed the vandalism, but it's believed to be racially motivated.
Rasheed said she's received a huge amount of support following the attacks, including that of Hutt South MP Chris Bishop.
"So disappointing that this is happening in our wonderful city," Bishop said in a Facebook post. "Kia kaha Shazly, know that so many people are behind you!"
Rasheed said she would replace some of the damaged billboards.
"Let's all come together and celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of our beautiful city," she wrote on Facebook.
The attacks follow an incident further north last month, where Auckland councillor Paul Young had 14 of his signs vandalised.