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Assault & Wilful Damage by Auckland City Cr. Claim

Media Release
The Water Pressure Group
7 April 2000

Assault and Wilful Damage by Auckland City Councillor Claimed by Water Pressure Group Members - His Resignation Demanded

During activities by the Water Pressure Group on Sunday 7 April, the group's fire engine was used to visit shopping centres around the city, signing up public support for submissions for council to abolish Metrowater and end user charges. As on past occasions, there was also a stop made outside councillors' residences - on this day, the Mayor Christine Fletcher's home in Mt Eden, and "City & Ratepayers" Councillor Phil Raffills' in Hillsborough.

During the later stop - just after 2pm - a short address was made on the public address system, pointing out that Mr Raffills was a council member representing citizens of Avondale/Mt Roskill. It was also stated that this area has always displayed the strongest opposition to commercialised water services and Metrowater, and that Mr Councillor Raffills does not represent the majority view of the people on this issue.

All five occupants remained seated within the fire engine.

After about three minutes, Mr Raffills emerged from his driveway holding a bottle. Without attempting discussion, he first struck the driver's window of the fire engine a strong blow, and then proceeded to the kerbside, where he smashed a large side cab window with the bottle.

The window shattered into the cab with enough force to scatter glass throughout the crew compartment and through the window to the driver's cab. A three year old girl in the front seat was showered in glass, and was immediately terrified and became hysterical, while the bottle entered the crew compartment, striking a Water Pressure Group member and causing an abrasion and bruising to his right elbow, through his leather jacket.

The police were called and eventually three cars and four personnel attended the incident. Statements were taken from Water Pressure Group members and a witness, and tonight, the police are considering laying charges against the city councillor.

A short item on TV3 6pm news covered this incident.

Water Pressure Group media spokespersons Penny Bright and Jim Gladwin said tonight: "In all of the group's activites over the past twenty-two months, we have never experienced such a shocking reaction from any member of the public, and we certainly did not expect it from a prominent city councillor and headmaster."

"This is not the behaviour we expect from a civic leader who should be setting an example, surely. If the boot was on the other foot, we assume that we would have been arrested immediately. As it stands, the Water Pressure Group's long campaign of civil disobedience has been non-violent and certainly has not involved in any injury to any person."

"The Water Pressure Group is appaled at Mr Raffills' totally inappropriate conduct, and we expect his immediate resignation from the Auckland City Council." Jim Gladwin and Penny Bright concluded.

Jim Gladwin & Penny Bright

Media spokespersons

The Water Pressure Group


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