Unhappy Hone may face driving charge

By Peter Jackson -
MP Hone Harawira. Photo / New Zealand Herald / Sarah Ivey
MP Hone Harawira. Photo / New Zealand Herald / Sarah Ivey

Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira survived unscathed when he lost control of his car south of the Mangamuka Gorge, but he was more upset by the police response, saying they weren't as swift at getting in touch with him when his office was shot at six weeks ago.

But police said they had been dealing with Mr Harawira's staff member throughout the investigation and thought that Mr Harawira had been updated by her.

"In hindsight police should have contacted Mr Harawira directly at the time," a police spokeswoman said.

Mr Harawira, the Te Tai Tokerau MP and Mana Movement leader, crashed on Thursday evening and was still waiting to see if he would be facing any charges.

"Six weeks ago my office (in Kaitaia) was shot up," he said.

"I took that very seriously. I reported it to the police, and you know what? I haven't seen one cop. I haven't even had a phone call, although a couple of messages were left," he said.

"Then I have an accident and the police are all over me. They're ringing me and my wife, making arrangements with my wife, while I'm asleep, to talk to me. Now (Friday morning) they're coming to see me. Apparently I'm likely to be charged with careless driving. So what's going on here? My office gets shot up and no one comes to see me, no one tells me what's going on. Then I crash a car and they're rushing to talk to me. Where have they been for the last six weeks?"

According to police the rental car driven by Mr Harawira left the road, hit a small metal dump, was "propelled" over some trees and landed on its roof, about a metre from the river. The car, which was described by police as damaged beyond repair, was still there when the police arrived but there was no sign of Mr Harawira or anyone else.

Mr Harawira said he accepted that he had been fortunate. The car had finally been stopped by a tree, he said, adding that it would otherwise have ended up in the river, which was running high.

Police said on June 27 police received a phone call from a staff member at Mr Harawira's electorate office stating that an office window had been damaged.

Within an hour of that call local police visited the office and found three small shatter holes that appeared to have come from a slug gun fired from the road.

"There was no one at the office at the time, so police visited the staff member at her home address and spoke to her. The next day police went back to the office to conduct a full scene examination," the spokeswoman said.

"The police received advice from Mr Harawira's office that the best way to get hold of him was to text him and he would respond. Police have done so and are awaiting a response."

There were several other incidents of wilful damage around the Kaitaia CBD at the time of the one at Mr Harawira's office. These incidents included windows being broken in a similar manner and because of this police believe that the electorate office was not a specific target.

If anyone does have information on the damage caused to Mr Harawira's office or the other incidents of wilful they can contact the Kaitaia police or if they wish to remain anonymous they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Normal practice for police is to visit the parties involved in a crash as soon as practicable, so police went to his home yesterday morning. Inquiries were continuing.

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