The family accused of breaking out of a Hamilton quarantine hotel to try and make a funeral will be supported in court by controversial NZ Public Party co-leader Billy Te Kahika.
The 37-year-old woman, together with three youths aged 18, 17 and 16, were jointly charged after allegedly cutting their way out of the Distinction Hotel on Friday night.
Four members of the family were quickly caught, while the fifth was found several hours later in Auckland.
All but one of the family, a youth aged 12, were charged with failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Saturday.
The judge handed down heavy suppressions and remanded them to reappear this afternoon.
Te Kahika, whose NZ Public Party this week announced it was merging with Jami-Lee Ross's Advance NZ, late this morning issued a statement saying he would be in court to support the group.
The news comes after he denied encouraging the group to escape after another relative got in touch with him just a couple of hours prior to them allegedly getting out.
"I did not advise them to break the law, but I will now stand by them in solidarity," he wrote.
"I believe in following the law, but I also believe in standing up for people when the law has treated them poorly and has led to devastating consequences."