Axe attack on PM's office prompts nationwide warning

1.00pm - By NZPA and BRIDGET CARTER

UPDATE - Groups opposed to the Foreshore and Seabed Bill are encouraging people to protest at electorate offices today, an MP has warned following an axe attack on the Prime Minister's Auckland office.

The Parliamentary Service contacted National MP Paul Hutchison's Port Waikato electorate office this morning and warned staff that they should leave the office at the slightest hint of trouble.

He said he understood the service had contacted other electorate offices around the country.

Prime Minister Helen Clark earlier said an early morning attack on her Auckland electorate office was violent criminal behaviour.

Police briefed Miss Clark this morning after an axe was thrown through the window of the office in Mt Albert.

It was believed to be a protest against the Government's Foreshore And Seabed legislation, which is due to pass in Parliament today.

"This is violent criminal behaviour and there is no place for it in a democracy," Helen Clark said through a spokesman. "It shows how extreme the views of some people are on this subject."

Police were called to the office in the suburb of Mt Albert after the axe was thrown through the window about 7am.

A note left at the office was believed to say Pakeha were venting their anger about the injustice to Maori over the foreshore and seabed legislation.

It was believed to claim the broken glass symbolised broken faith, broken trust and shattered justice, and the axe represented steadfastness and determination.

Soon after the attack police cordoned off a telephone box in Ponsonby, some distance from Helen Clark's office.

They said they had traced a call to Radio New Zealand about the attack to the telephone box, which would be tested for clues.

Police said the caller also mentioned that a package of flyers had been left on the roadside in Ponsonby.

They found the flyers, which they described as "not entirely supportive" of the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

The broken glass window expressed the "broken justice" of the foreshore and seabed legislation, the letter said. Parliament is expected to be wrap up the bill by around six o'clock tonight.

United Future MP Larry Baldock has been speaking in Parliament this morning and has expressed concern that the bill is divisive and confusing.

In a reference to this morning's attack, Mr Baldock said the legislation has prompted fury across the country.

The protestor's note

Tonight concerned Pakeha vented their anger and disgust at the Government's attempts to steal by confiscation and without consultation, Maori land in the form of the Foreshore and Seabed Bill by attacking the electorate office of the Prime Minister.

The broken glass symbolises the broken justice of this issue and we call upon other like-minded New Zealanders to commit their own acts of civil disobedience to send a clear message that such injustice can never be accepted.

- additional reporting NEWSTALK ZB

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