National | Crime

Harawira apologises after slip of the tongue

It was statement by Hone Harawira, claiming the media were "making a big fuss about bugger all" over the alleged assault of a woman by a Malaysian diplomat which has now landed him in the deep end.

Hone Harawira states, “It was a slip of the tongue statement that night. But if the woman has been hurt by that, I was wrong.”

Hone Harawira posted an apology on his Facebook page today, a week after the initial comments.

Tania Billingsley is the woman alleged to have been assaulted by Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail.   It is alleged Rizalman followed her home where he assaulted her with intent to rape.

He was arrested and appeared in the Wellington District Court, but a short while later he returned to Malaysia with the matter unresolved.

Harawira says, “At that time my thinking was toward the man who returned to his homeland, but some people claim it appeared to be a criticism of the woman. So, I apologise to her, I feel for her situation and support her on that.”

Last night Tania Billingley gave an interview on current affairs show, 3rd Degree, calling for Minister Murray McCullay to resign over his poor handling of the issue, in particular the circumstances of Rizalman's return to Malaysia.

Rizalman has been ordered to return to New Zealand but as he is currently in hospital, no specific date has been set.