Whakatau 2023 | Police

Not a ram raid, not racially motivated – police rebut Te Pāti Māori complaints

Not a ram raid, not racially motivated – police rebut Te Pāti Māori complaints

Waikato police say they do not believe “incidents” at Te Pāti Māori candidate Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke’s have been racially motivated or coordinated.

Maipi-Clarke has made several complaints to the police about sign damage, fence destruction, what she called an “invasion”, threatening letters and suspicious cars.

Her party has argued the person who came on to her property in Huntly was politically motivated as the perpetrator is a well-known advocate and campaigner for the National Party.

“There should be no doubt now in anyone’s mind that National and ACT’s race-baiting has empowered and emboldened a dangerous type of human being who is hell-bent on silencing Māori by targeting who they think is our most vulnerable,” party president John Tamihere said.

He said the police could have laid charges for unlawful entry “knowing that Hana and her home have been a target. Instead, they chose not to.”

But Waikato police said in a statement late today that, while they acknowledge the incidents in which people have come onto the property will have been unsettling, theye do not believe these constitute a home-invasion style entry into the house.

Trespass notice

They were making inquiries into five reports received in relation to a property in Huntly.

The police confirmed they would be issuing a trespass notice to a Huntly resident, following a report received at around 10.20am yesterday, Wednesday, October 5.

“At that time a person entered the property and was subsequently asked to leave by the occupants.”

Police had established that an election hoarding was stolen from the property on September 25 but noted this was in the context of several other hoardings in the area, from a range of political parties, being damaged or defaced.

“This incident has been incorrectly reported as a ram raid – this is more correctly referred to as a theft. At this stage no further line of enquiry is available and this matter has been filed.”

Police said three other incidents were reported by residents of the property on September 25.

Crime prevention and safety advice

They have followed up on reports of a suspicious vehicle but said at this stage they do not believe this vehicle is linked to any intentions at the property.

Police had investigated a report of an alleged burglary and receipt of a threatening note and they had been unable to establish any criminality, although inquiries were continuing.

Police had visited the property on several occasions to investigate the reports and provide reassurance.

“Staff have offered crime prevention and safety advice to those occupants.”

The key focus for Police over the election period was to maintain law and order and to ensure the right to freedom of expression is protected.

That included ensuring candidates and their teams felt safe and confident to carry out their work in the lead-up to the election.

Threats ‘taken seriously’

As part of this work police at a national level were regularly monitoring the campaigning of candidates and any consideration for a policing presence or action was made on a case-by-case basis.

All reports of threats are taken seriously and followed up with enforcement action if required.