6 Dec 2012

Harawira pleads not guilty over housing protest

4:30 pm on 6 December 2012

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira will fight charges laid against him after a state housing protest in Auckland.

The MP was arrested on 12 October this year and is charged with failing to remove a vehicle and pleaded not guilty when he appeared in the Auckland District Court on Thursday.

Five other people were also arrested on the evening of the protest over the removal of state houses in Glen Innes. On Thursday the group returned to protest outside the court and held up banners inside the courtroom in support of Mr Harawira.

When the Mana Party leader was asked to enter a plea, he spoke in Maori and the Justices of the Peace called on a member of the public to translate.

A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf and a half-day defended hearing scheduled for March next year.

Outside court, Mr Harawira said he would be defending the charge and mounting a full case that would take more than half a day.

"I do not agree with the actions of the Crown and stealing the homes of the people of Glen Innes. I do not agree with the decision of the police to arrest me, and I do not agree with the actions of the Crown to desecrate the mana of the people of Glen Innes by taking their homes."