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Prebble Stunned by MP's Prosecution


Prebble Stunned by MP's Prosecution

Wednesday 10 Sep 2003
Richard Prebble
Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today he was very concerned at the action of the police in prosecuting a Member of Parliament for something that occurred within the precincts of parliament.

"Parliament has its own proceedings and disciplinary forum. It is a very worrying development when the police enter parliament to publicly interview a Member of Parliament and then decide to prosecute even when the historic record shows clearly that a Labour Cabinet Minister had in the past driven a tractor up the steps of parliament and no action was taken.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the police were reacting to the strong press statements issued by the Speaker of the House, Jonathan Hunt, and these statements by the Prime Minister and other Ministers clearly designed to influence the police.

"The New Zealand police now have a credibility problem. They are prosecuting a National MP but ignore a clear case of fraud by the Prime Minister when she falsely signed artwork for financial gain. The Prime Minister's offence carries a penalty of seven years.

"The authorities also ignored a serious breach of the insider trading laws over Air New Zealand committed by Ministers. "The Speaker never issued any press statements on those matters and also refused to, despite a statutory obligation, to take urgent action to make any statement about a breach of the Electoral Act by a Labour Minister, Mr Duynhoven.

"The New Zealand police have an enviable record of being professional and non-political. Under this government, police have been used as revenue collectors for instant fines - tripled under Labour - and now have got time for this trivial matter.

"I sincerely hope that Mr Shane Ardern pleads `not guilty'. If the police had interviewed me, and I think I was the MP standing closest to the tractor, I would have said, `It was a fine piece of tractor driving, no one was in any danger, and Mr Ardern was making a point on behalf of the people he represents, that the flatulence tax is an absurdity'", said Mr Prebble.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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