17 May 2011

NZ experts to help with suspected Niue arson

3:16 pm on 17 May 2011

Niue police have sent material from a suspected arson to be tested in New Zealand for the presence of any accelerant.

The fire destroyed a house belonging to the son of MP, Opili Talafasi, just hours after this year's general election ended.

Three people are due in court next week on assault charges after an earlier incident at a property next to the destroyed house, but Niue's police chief, Mark Chenery, says they are yet to make any arrests in relation to the fire.

However he says he and his investigators are satisfied it was deliberately lit.

"Part of that investigation obviously, with our remoteness, has resulted in us sending samples back down to the ESR [Environmental Science and Research] in Wellington for forensic testing, on the last plane. And obviously that will take several weeks for those results to come through as to whether there was any accelerant in the debris that we've collected."