An Independent candidate in this year’s elections was arrested and led away in handcuffs at an Armistice Day commemoration attended by the Minister of Internal Affairs Nathan Guy yesterday.
Otaki candidate, Phil Taueki is a Foxton RSA member who was attending a ceremony on the Foxton RSA premises with his partner Cr Anne Hunt when Police Officer John May tapped him on the shoulder and asked him outside. As Mr Taueki was leaving, four other police officers arrived and arrested him for a breach of his bail conditions.
Mrs Hunt says the police claimed that he had given only twenty-three and a half hours notice that he would be attending a function attended by Horowhenua’s Mayor Brendan Duffy rather than the required twenty-four hours.
The police ordered a journalist covering the event not to take photographs.
Mr Taueki’s lawyer, Steven Price is currently out of the country and was unable to represent him for yesterday’s appearance in the Levin District Court.
Mr Taueki had applied for a variation of his bail conditions to ensure that he would be able to address campaign meetings if the Mayor also attended.
Mr Taueki is facing several charges including criminal harassment after making six phone calls to the Mayor over a three-day period.
The police has sought a bail condition demanding that Mr Taueki must leave as soon as he becomes aware that Mr Duffy is present at any meeting or public event.
In the Levin District Court the day beforehand, Mr Taueki had argued that this condition would not allow him to attend the Armistice Day commemoration which Cr Hunt was obliged to attend in her capacity as a Foxton RSA committee member.
He told the court that he was concerned that Cr
Hunt had been subjected to a confrontation involving Mr
Duffy a week before she was due to give evidence in another
matter. Although she had reported this incident to the
police, no action had been taken.
During the hearing, he advised the Crown Prosecutor Simon Chamberlain that it was his intention to attend the Armistice Day commemorations at the Foxton RSA.
However, Thursday’s hearing had been delayed until 12.30pm which meant that he was unable to give the full twenty-four hour notice that he intended to accompany Mrs Hunt to this commemoration on the Foxton RSA premises.
Earlier this year, four police officers had visited Mr Taueki’s home at 1am to arrest him on a charge of wilful trespass. This charge was dismissed on the grounds that the trespass notice was invalid. Lake Trustee chairman Dr Jonathan Procter who issued the trespass notice, admitted that he was not an owner of the property, nor could he prove that he was acting as an agent for the owners. However, for eight weeks the bail conditions prevented him from returning to his home on his own property.
He has also been
trespassed from the Horowhenua District Council for a
Mr Taueki is taking the Horowhenua District Court to court to stop Levin’s stormwater draining into Lake Horowhenua which is privately-owned.
Mr Taueki who is a direct descendent of Tauheke who signed the Treaty of Waitangi on behalf of Mua-Upoko, says he is heartened by the response he is getting on the campaign trail as he describes what he believes to be the most blatant violation of the Treaty of Waitangi in recent history.
Despite the fact that Mua-Upoko has always owned Lake Horowhenua, the Crown removed all ownership rights by passing a law placing control of the lake in the hands of a domain board appointed by the Minister. Since then the lake has deteriorated to such an extent that it now ranked one of the worst lakes in the country.
Mr Taueki says that he was not surprised by his latest arrest, due to comments Mr Guy had made to his campaign manager after a candidates’ meeting last Tuesday.
And although he was forced to spend several hours in a police cell on Armistice Day, he is philosophical, considering this latest incident to be part of an ongoing campaign of harassment by the police, the local council and politicians ever since he returned to New Zealand to champion the rights of his iwi. In his campaign manifesto, he says that if you don’t stand up for your rights, it is inevitable that you will lose them.
However, he says that his arrest at an RSA premises on Armistice Day shows a distinct lack of respect for the rights and freedoms that New Zealand servicemen fought to preserve.
Authorised by Anne Hunt, 17 Nash Parade Foxton Beach.