11 Jul 2008

Fox has overcome violence problem - Maori Party

9:35 am on 11 July 2008

Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata says he is impressed with the sincerity of party candidate Derek Fox in dealing with violence against women in his past.

Mr Fox is contesting the Ikaroa-Rawhiti seat which is currently held by the Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.

The Maori Party has acknowledged allegations that Mr Fox was involved in incidents of violence against women, and is standing by the candidate.

The party's president Whatarangi Winiata says as soon as they became aware of the allegations they met with him.

He says Mr Fox and his partner had an encounter about 16 years ago, which the candidate reported to police.

He has since taken advice and counselling on anger management and Mr Winiata believes Mr Fox has dealt with the problem, and does not expect a recurrence.

Derek Fox statement

In a statement on Thursday, Derek Fox said he had done some things in the past that he regrets, and he takes responsibility for his "unacceptable behaviour".

Mr Fox says all of this happened a long time ago, and he has since surrendered himself to the authorities.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said on Thursday the party recognises the allegations are of a very serious nature, and acknowledges the harm that comes from violence.

Ms Turia says the claims are from a long time ago and she is satisfied that they have been addressed.

She says Mr Fox has enormous potential to make a significant contribution to Parliament and it is the party's responsibility to support him as he moves forward.