Harawira arrested at housing protest

Hone Harawira: ' . . . as far as I was concerned I wasn't breaking the law.'
Hone Harawira: ' . . . as far as I was concerned I wasn't breaking the law.'
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says a charge of failure to remove a vehicle from a road following his arrest overnight is "seriously over the top".

The Te Tai Tokerau MP was among at least seven people arrested during a housing protest in the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes.

Members of the Tamaki Housing Action Group, who are fighting the removal of state houses and eviction of families, occupied one property being removed in preparation for redevelopment.

Mr Harawira said he was charged with failure to remove a vehicle from a road. He said he was parked on a public road and the charge was "seriously over the top".

''I didn't actually go out there to get arrested, I didn't go out there to break the law, as far as I was concerned I wasn't breaking the law. I was only parked in a car listening to some music, supporting the people that were up on the houses, and the police chose to break the windows and arrest me.''

The Te Tai Tokerau MP said he was raised in a state house and he appreciated the commitment the government had shown to ensure every family had a decent home to live in.

"I have watched the people of Glen Innes torn apart by a deliberate government strategy to evict families who have grown up, married and had children and mokopuna there over the past 40 years.

"Those days are sadly gone," he said.

"For some time now I have watched the Minister of Housing, Phil Heatley, make disparaging remarks about the poor and bad jokes about evicting them from their homes, including his National Party colleagues making raucous comments about the folks at Glen Innes.

"I have seen people in despair over the broken promises and the flat out lies from government ministers and their officials who promised them they would never have to leave."

Mr Harawira said the Government had organised a "massive" police presence in Glen Innes.
He said three young women sat on a roof for hours to protest against its removal.

The Tamaki Housing Action Group says the redevelopment is pulling apart the Glen Innes community for the purpose of privatising state houses.

The protesting has been going on for six months - generally they get arrested before being released without charge.

Harawira was due to be in Kaikohe this morning the meet Sam Kuha, who was to end a 30-day hunger strike with a bowl of soup.



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