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Ardern staggered at police pressure

12 May 2004

Shane Ardern National MP for Taranaki-King Country

Ardern staggered at police pressure

National MP Shane Ardern says he is staggered to discover that police put pressure on the Prosecutions Service to charge him over driving a tractor up the steps of Parliament last year.

Mr Ardern drove an old tractor up the steps as part of a protest at the Government's intention to tax farmers for livestock flatulence. He was charged with disorderly conduct, but the charge was later dropped.

He says documents released to him under the Official Information Act clearly show senior police put pressure on prosecutions staff. This despite a review of the case recommending against prosecution and saying the chances of a conviction were slim.

"It was clear to me at the time I was charged that there was some questionable behaviour going on, and now the paperwork confirms that.

"The Police Prosecutions Service was set up to be independent but here we have senior police leaning on them to prosecute me.

"All I ever wanted was to be treated like any other New Zealander would be, and these papers suggest that did not happen."

Ends

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