26 Jul 2013

MP's state house protest 'did not slow' development

1:36 pm on 26 July 2013

Housing New Zealand says protests against the removal of state houses in Auckland have not affected the project.

Mana party leader Hone Harawira was on Thursday convicted and fined $500 for failing to move his vehicle during a protest against the removal of state houses in the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes last year. The charge carried a maximum fine of $10,000.

The Te Tai Tokerau MP said the protest had slowed down the Northern Glen Innes x redevelopment.

The project includes the redevelopment of 156 properties to create at least 260 new houses, 78 of which will be owned by Housing New Zealand.

But Housing New Zealand spokesperson Sean Bignell said site work is expected to get under way within the next few months after consents have been granted and homes will start being built by December. He said feedback about the development from most tenants has been positive.

Mr Harawira told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme he would not want to go through the hassle of getting arrested and a court case again, but in other ways the fine was worth it.

"I've always used the courts as a political platform and if the police are going to go to the trouble of taking me to court I will use it as often as I can and as publicly as I can to promote the issues that are important to the citizens of this country."

Mr Harawira says the conviction is at the lower end of the scale and will not affect his role as an MP or his ability to travel overseas.