27 Jan 2016

Petition calls to restore Māori veteran's pension

3:07 pm on 27 January 2016

A petition to have a Māori veteran's pension restored after it was suspended over an arrest warrant has more than 1500 signatures.

Selwyn Clarke

Selwyn Clarke Photo: Supplied / Kihi Ririnui

Selwyn Clarke's pension and disability allowance was suspended in November after he was issued with an arrest warrant.

The kaumatua was part of an occupation of Kaitaia Airport last September and was arrested for trespassing.

The online petition, which can be found here, calls on the government to reinstate Mr Clarke's pension, backpay him for the time the pension was cut, apologise to him for causing him distress and humiliation, and amend the Social Security regulations to exclude war veterans.

By mid-afternoon today, the petition had gathered 1570 signatures.

The 88-year-old has been selling his belongings and begging at Kaitaia markets to survive since his pension was stopped.

Work and Income New Zealand said the warrant needed to cleared for Mr Clarke's payments to resume.

But the veteran refuses to go to court, saying it was an issue of ownership and sovereignty.

Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu and the Taitokerau MP Kelvin Davis are taking donations for Mr Clarke.