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Sharples, Harawira apologists for fraud, says Goff

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Justice

28 August 2005

Sharples, Harawira apologists for fraud, says Goff

Justice Minister Phil Goff describes as pathetic claims by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and candidate Hone Harawira that Donna Awatere Huata's conviction was because of a racist justice system.

"A court of law and a jury found Awatere Huata guilty of fraud. She was found guilty on the evidence, not because of her ethnicity," Mr Goff said.

"This knee-jerk reaction to blame the system and not the individual is just pathetic. Awatere Huata abused her position to rip money off from kids who should have been the beneficiaries of it.

"The inmates at Mt Eden Women's Prison got it right. They accused Donna Awatere Huata of stealing money from Maori kids. Taxpayers' dollars that were intended to go into reading programmes were stolen by Awatere Huata for her own use.

"It is a tragedy that someone who could have used her leadership skills to benefit these kids fell victim to self-interest and greed. The fact that she should have known better actually makes her offending worse.

"Hone Harawira's description of her as 'totally honest' is a reflection on his credibility and that of the Maori Party," Mr Goff said.


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