25 May 2012

Police raids apology a slap in the face - MP

6:27 am on 25 May 2012

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell says a police apology to the people of Ruatoki is a slap in the face for everyone involved in the Urewera raids of 2007.

Commissioner Peter Marshall says he's sorry for frightening innocent people in the Bay of Plenty community when officers carried out raids under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

The apology was made on Thursday, when Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara were sentenced to prison for two years and six months on firearms charges.

Te Ururoa Flavell, whose Maori electorate covers Ruatoki, says it's a reluctant apology that's come too late - and was badly timed on the day of sentencing.

Mr Flavell says the apology comes more than four years after the raids, and could have been made earlier.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says he's very sorry that innocent individuals, families and a community were frightened and inconvenienced, acknowledging it was distressing for bystanders.

He says he regrets the fear experienced by the innocent people in the Ruatoki Valley - especially the children.