Meurant's Red Squad baton up for sale

By Angela Gregory

Former policeman and MP Ross Meurant has put his 1981 Springbok Tour aluminium baton up for auction on TradeMe.

Mr Meurant was second in command of the Red Squad, a police unit set up to deal with anti-tour protests.

The starting bid for the baton is $10,000.

But his listing on the online auction site has sickened an old foe.

John Minto, the face of the anti-tour movement in 1981, told the Herald last night the sale was amoral and bizarre.

"To try and make money out of the situation back in '81 is a bit tacky ... I think most people would find that offensive."

On the website, the Monodok PR 24 baton is described as "the Minto bar" and is pictured on a white sheet with a red rose placed underneath.

The entry says Mr Meurant and several other members of the Red Squad imported the aluminium batons from the United States at their own expense.

"This weapon became as infamous as the men and one woman of Red Squad who wielded the baton in a blaze of blood throughout the tour," says the entry.

Mr Meurant promises to provide a certificate of authentication with the baton, and an engraving on it if requested.

Mr Meurant was an MP for nine years. In his maiden speech he warned that Maori radicals would plunge New Zealand into civil war, and was later involved in claims of attempts to sell arms.

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