20 Jan 2020

National Party office burglary a 'sinister' start to election year

From Checkpoint, 5:15 pm on 20 January 2020

The National Party says a burglary at its Auckland headquarters is a sinister start to election year.

Three laptops were taken from the office in Greenlane - but other items like wine were left behind.

"There were other things that could have been taken by an opportunist criminal… There were bits and pieces around, bottles of wine, other things that might have been of interest," National Party MP Paul Goldsmith, who has an office in the same building, told Checkpoint.

The police are investigating the burglary.

"We don't know what exactly has happened yet, but laptops taken at the start of an election year is frankly disturbing, and sinister," Mr Goldsmith said.

It is a "distinct possibility" that the theft was made by someone trying to gain National's election campaign material, he said.

"The computers are fully encrypted. But you never know what's able to be accessed, if it is part of some kind of well-organised hit. So that's what we've got to be concerned about."

He would not specify what was on the laptops and said he did not know what information they contained.

The office is the regional headquarters of the National Party organisation.

Mr Goldsmith said it was the only part of the building that was accessed.

His office on the other side of the building was not.

He said he is not aware of CCTV operating in the affected part of the building.

"We just want to spend election year talking about things that matter to New Zealanders… what worries us is this is a signal about the sorts of politics that will be played this year.

"It's early days, I'm not making any accusations against anybody in particular, but to have three laptops stolen from party offices and local is disturbing."