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Calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Urewera Raids

The Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Maori Party Co-Leader

7 September 2011

Maori Party calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Urewera raids

Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples is calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Urewera raids of October 2007, and the subsequent prosecutions, saying decisive action is required to start a process of recovery and healing.

“The application of the law needs to be scrutinised. Enormous damage has been done to the Police’s credibility and their relationships with Ngai Tuhoe, and the hurt cannot be allowed to fester any longer. An open process of disclosure and inquiry, and public accountability, is urgently needed,” said Dr Sharples.

“The secret surveillance, the dramatic and frightening conduct of the raids, and the laying of charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act seared a perception in the public mind of a terrorist threat, which the Crown can no longer sustain.

“On top of that, the total lock-down of a whole community unnecessarily stigmatised the people of Ngai Tuhoe, most of whom are clearly innocent.

“To turn the current situation around requires action. Simply dropping the charges leaves a lingering stink. We need to clear the air, and a Royal Commission can do that,” said Dr Sharples.

“I will be writing to the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General to seek their support, for the people of Tuhoe, for the Police, and for the sake of our national unity,”said Dr Sharples.

ENDS

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