Hunger striker Sam Kuha pleads guilty to wilful damage

By Peter de Graaf

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Far North hunger striker Sam Kuha has pleaded guilty to smashing windows at Kaikohe's Work and Income office.

Kuha appeared in the Kaikohe District Court today on a charge of wilful damage relating to his protest on September 18 when he travelled 4km into town in his electric wheelchair and used a sledgehammer to shatter two windows.

Kuha said he did it to draw attention to his hunger strike, a protest against Work and Income's rules around issuing emergency food grants.

He entered a guilty plea via his lawyer Steve Nicholson, who will seek a discharge without conviction when Kuha appears for sentencing on January 18.

The 59-year-old invalid beneficiary lifted his hunger strike on October 12 when Social Development Minister Paula Bennett agreed to meet him and hear his concerns.

The meeting has yet to take place, mainly because Kuha wants to be accompanied by his advocate Arthur Harawira, but Ms Bennett does not want the Mana Party member and brother of Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira at the meeting.

-NAD ln

- Northern Advocate

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