11 May 2011

Niue police see no link between alleged arson and election outcome

8:35 am on 11 May 2011

Niue's police chief says investigators are not linking a suspected arson to last weekend's election outcome.

A small house at Hikutavake, to the north of Alofi, was destroyed by fire soon after the election finished on Saturday night.

Mark Chenery says they are treating it as arson.

The house was the home of the son of the MP re-elected in the village seat, Opili Talafasi, and there have been reports this was a factor in the blaze, but Mr Chenery is sceptical.

"I personally think it's drawing a long bow to make that suggestion at this stage. There were a number of people at a neighbouring property. Obviously being election night in Niue there were a number of different gatherings for the various hopeful candidates, so there were a lot of people out and about around the island, so we have got a number of witnesses we are continuing to speak to."

Mark Chenery says two people from a neighbouring property were arrested after an earlier incident.

They have been charged with assault and will appear in court on May the 17th.