Research Confirms Strength of Maori Concern
Te Ururoa Flavell, Member of Parliament for Waiariki
2 November 2007
Research released today by UMR which found that 41% of Maori surveyed considered that “the police have over-reacted and acted inappropriately” in what the media have described as ‘terror raids’ must make the nation take a long hard look at itself” said Te Ururoa Flavell, Waiariki MP.
“When we, the Maori Party, carried the concerns of our people to Parliament, telling of the traumatic effect of heavily armed police entering Ruatoki, searching vehicles and taking photographs, we were rubbished” said Te Ururoa Flavell. “Everyone fell into the scrum – the Police Association, the Prime Minister, NZ First leader, the Maori Affairs Minister and even some newspaper editors all scrambling over themselves to wag the finger at us”.
“Today’s data which reveals that only one in five of the Maori surveyed thought the Police had acted appropriately under the circumstances, must make those sceptics look again at the facts” said Flavell.
“Politics is all about perception. If 71% of Maori surveyed have been following the news stories about the Police arrests ‘closely’ and in fact 58% have followed it very closely (compared to 28% of non-Maori) then that tells us, the perception – and the concern - that Maori have expressed about this situation is pretty widespread”.
“In fact, all manner of New Zealanders have been speaking out about this issue” said Te Ururoa Flavell. “The Human Rights Commission has received official complaints from Maori and Pakeha about the police action; and this weekend a nationwide hui on human rights has been called to respond to the recent events”.
“Rallies and public meetings continue to be held, and amongst Maori communities, concern is consistently expressed about the ways in which the police actions took place” said Te Ururoa Flavell.
“This issue will not just go away” said Mr Flavell. “This is an issue about the rule of law, and how it is adhered to or breached”.
• The National Council of Women were “distressed and angered to learn of a police raid on a safe house”;
• Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, Minister of the Presbyterian Church has spoken out calling for ‘justice to prevail’ in the light of what he describes as the “outrageous claims of terrorist camps in Ruatoki and the Urewera”;
• Dr David Williams, Professor of Law, has called for “reasoned discussions” of what indeed are the minimum parameters necessary for the operation of the State” while embracing the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination”.