Two Labour Members of Parliament have confirmed the claim by Democracy Action that the Government and Police condoned the illegal iwi roadblocks on public roads. Tamati Coffey (Labour - Waiariki) and Kiri Allan (Labour – List MP living in the East Coast) have stated that these roadblocks were “well supported” by the Government and that police “helped with the checkpoints”.
Debating on Newstalk ZB with National Iwi Chairs Forum spokesman Rahui Papa, who was critical of the alleged lack of Government support for iwi, the two MPs cited iwi checkpoints as a prime example of a “number of initiatives where Maori and the Government have partnered over COVID-19.”
In a recent media release (22 May 2020) Democracy Action spokesperson, Lee Short, said:
“We have criticized the Prime Minister for a lack of leadership during a situation where one group was clearly treated as if it was above the law. The Police Minister had a soft and vacillating stance which encouraged self-appointed activists and their gang enforcers to intimidate law-abiding New Zealanders.”
“Rather than dispute these criticisms, Ms Allan and Mr Coffey have instead celebrated them as a well-supported partnership between Government, Police and iwi. I suspect this is a better description of the real situation than Jacinda Ardern’s bland platitudes and Stuart Nash’s double speak. At least someone in Government is finally being honest – they fully supported the illegal roadblocks and encouraged the Police to do the same.”
“This stance, finally unmasked by two backbenchers in a moment of honesty, confirms there was Government support for a direct and concerted challenge to the principle that all New Zealanders are equal before the law. There needs to be a full high-level review of this regrettable situation. Political parties must commit to not tolerating such actions again, no matter what the pretext,” said Mr Short.