29 Sep 2023

Candidate's home broken into, vandalised, threat left behind

9:33 pm on 29 September 2023
Hana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke, Te Pāti Māori's candidate for Hauraki-Waikato.

Hana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke, Te Pāti Māori candidate for Hauraki-Waikato Photo: Erica Sinclair / Supplied

The home of Te Pāti Māori candidate Hana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke was entered, vandalised, and a threatening letter left behind this week.

The attack was premeditated, targeted and politically motivated, the candidate for Hauraki-Waikato said.

The party issued a statement saying it was the third incident to take place at Maipi-Clarke's home this week.

"When our billboards are vandalised, and when our candidates are verbally assaulted, it is not an attack on them as individuals or us as a political party. It is an attack on what we represent: our whakapapa, our culture, and the dreams of our tūpuna and mokopuna," the party said.

"Hana is our mokopuna, and no mokopuna should ever be treated this way."

The danger of the campaign trail had increased Maipi-Clarke said, and she blamed that on race baiting and fearmongering from right wing parties.

Speaking during the Hauraki-Waikato candidates' debate on The Hui, Maipi-Clarke addressed the attackers.

"This is my message: To the people who ram raided my house, who came into my house and threatened me. To the people who came and vandalised my fence - don't be scared, because the Kōhanga Reo generation are here, and we have a huge movement and a huge wave of us coming through," she said.

"I am not scared… I am here to be a light and a māramatanga to us that we belong in these places."

A spokesperson for Te Pāti Māori said the incident was thought to be the first time a politician's home had been attacked in this way.

Earlier complaint of assault made to police by Labour MP

Labour candidate for Taranaki-King Country Angela Roberts this week said she had laid a complaint with the police about being assaulted at an election debate in Inglewood.

Roberts said she was grabbed, shaken and slapped on the face by a man at the event.

The list MP said politicians were increasingly facing aggressive behaviour and it was unacceptable. Women politicians from all parties had been discussing how to keep safe leading up to the election, she said.

"I have no problem with being held to account, but all of that other stuff is completely unnecessary."

Labour leader Chris Hipkins said there appeared to be more risk for politicians than in previous election campaigns.

"Election campaigns should be conducted with respect and with dignity," he said earlier. "No-one is entitled to physically interfere with another person and certainly not to assault them."

Green Party co-leader James Shaw, who was assaulted in 2019, agreed there was a more noticeable presence of threat on the campaign trail this year.

Shaw linked the problem to online abuse that was being increasingly directed at politicians, which he said was only a few steps away from becoming physical violence.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs