Why is Govt silent on Maori road blocks?

It appears that Maori New Zealanders are above the law, and that the Government is relaxed about that, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said today.

Last Thursday, by email he asked the leaders of all five political parties in Parliament how they felt about Maori New Zealanders taking the law into their own hands. 

He received one reply, from David Seymour, Leader of the ACT Party, who simply wrote that “ACT believes in the rule of law, and that it is applied equally to all people regardless of creed or race”.

A staff member in the Prime Minister’s office emailed back to say the question had been referred to the Police Minister, who has not yet replied.

Dr Brash was appalled at the silence from the leaders of all of the other parties in Parliament!  “They wilfully turn a blind-eye to law-breaking by some New Zealanders, apparently on the grounds of race,” he said.

Even though according to official data Maori New Zealanders are under-represented among those who have contracted the Covid-19 virus, the Government has allocated special funding to help Maori with the consequences of the pandemic, again for absolutely no obvious reason, Dr Brash said.

“For too long, New Zealanders have been sold the nonsense that Maori New Zealanders deserve to be treated in some kind of preferential way because of colonisation,” he said. 

“That every single party in Parliament now has a Maori as Leader or Deputy Leader - and sometimes as both - shows how absurd this is,” Dr Brash said.

Northland iwi have set up 11 checkpoints since lockdown began on March 26; Tuhoe have set up checkpoints in Waikaremoana, Ruatahuna, Ruatoki and Te Waimana; Ngati Manawa have set up two checkpoints at Murupara; Te Whanau-a-Apanui on the East Cape have continued to operate 24-hour checkpoints; and before the lockdown, Ngati Wheke, a sub-tribe of Ngai Tahu, closed the road into Rapaki Pa, south of Christchurch.

See  https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/04/10/1123190/iwi-lock-down-their-rohe-in-pictures

See https://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/239612-iwi-establish-more-covid19-checkpoints.html

Far North mayor defends vigilante road blocks

Far North Mayor John Carter confirmed his support for unauthorised, illegal checkpoints stopping private vehicles on public roads, alleging they kept people safe from Covid-19 in a phone call to Hobson’s Pledge member Fiona Mackenzie last week.

Hone Harawira has been operating ''medical checkpoints'' on public roads at the main entry points to the Far North. Other activists have been blockading public roads in other regions too.

“Not only is this illegal, but it is contrary to the Government’s Level 4 pandemic lockdown instructions to the public to stay at home to protect our families/whanau and communities,” Ms Mackenzie said.

Carter said that Harawira had approached the Far North District Council for support, only to be told that the council itself had no ability to help with costs, and had no authority to sanction the checkpoints. Harawira had been directed to talk with the police.

“Even if the police provide supervision, I understand that they have no legal right to delegate their responsibilities to untrained, self-organised members of the public,” Ms Mackenzie said. 

“What has our country come to when police and mayors such as John Carter are publicly supporting such vigilante behaviour? People can’t go for a swim yet they can impose checkpoints on private vehicles on public roads?

“It appears that the police and local councils either support or are afraid to challenge this illegal behaviour.

“When pressed further, Carter lashed out, accusing me of supporting the spread of disease,” Ms Mackenzie said.

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