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
"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 bump, 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
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.
- Northern Advocate