2 Jun 2021

Māori Party question police response to white supremacist video

9:43 am on 2 June 2021

Te Pāti Māori is accusing police of having double standards when dealing with death threats made against Pākehā and Māori.

Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer

Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The Party has lodged an official complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority over the investigation into a video posted online by a white supremacist threatening to kill Māori and targeting marae.

Police have received multiple complaints about the video, which was taken down last week.

Te Pāti Māori said the video made specific threats towards the party and Māori people in general.

Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said she was "more than disappointed" by police's response to the party's complaint.

"Communication and response time was inadequate, the police have continued to minimise the nature of the threat against us and our people," she said.

Ngarewa-Packer said nobody at police had been able to give them a straight answer.

"We lodged a complaint on Monday 24th June as soon as we were made aware of the video.

"We didn't hear back from the police until Wednesday 26th and that was the only time we heard from them until we started to raise questions about what was being done," she said.

The party said the person responsible had been spoken to but was not seen as a threat by police due to mental health issues.

Co-leader Rawiri Waititi compared the treatment of that individual, to those who threatened National MP Simeon Brown.

"There was two people appearing in court and so this appears to be differential treatment between Māori MPs and a Pākehā MP," he said.

Waititi said that after what happened in Christchurch, he thought there would be more urgency when dealing with white supremacists.

"We need to give some kind of sense of security to our people," he said.

In a statement, police said they acknowledged the concerns raised by Te Pāti Māori.

"We are taking this matter very seriously and have been actively investigating the video since the initial complaints were received last week, including conducting a search warrant.

"As this is an active investigation, there is no further comment police can make at this time."