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Selective traction from the ‘Law and Order’ party

10 September 2003 Media Statement

Selective traction from the ‘Law and Order’ party

National, the so-called ‘law and order’ party, becomes the disorder party when one of their own is charged by police, Police Minister George Hawkins says.

Police today charged Taranaki - King Country MP Shane Ardern with disorderly behaviour after he allegedly drove a tractor up the steps of Parliament last Thursday during a protest by farmers.

Mr Hawkins said National leader Bill English tried to litigate the case in Parliament today, at the same time deputy leader Roger Sowry was issuing a statement expressing ‘surprise and disappointment’ that Mr Ardern had been charged.

“Rather than ‘surprised and disappointed’ at police laying charges, I would have thought a party genuinely committed to law and order would supported the legal process running its course,” Mr Hawkins said.

“I’m ‘surprised and disappointed’ National is not prepared to leave the matter to the Courts, the appropriate venue, not Parliament.

“Statements that National is disappointed with the charge sound like political pressure on police not to do their job,” Mr Hawkins said.

Inquiries were also ongoing to identify a person who allegedly rode a motorcycle onto the steps of Parliament during the same protest, showing police were not targeting Mr Ardern personally but the behaviour of those concerned, he said.

He dismissed political pressure was behind the charge, and said Mr Ardern should not expect to be treated differently from anyone else who attempted to drive a tractor up Parliament’s steps.


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