9 Jul 2013

Police struggle to find Far North arsonist

9:00 am on 9 July 2013

A shareholder of a Far North Maori organisation says police have all but given up trying to find out who set fire to a sales office on coastal customary land.

The building on Matauri Bay whenua was burned down at the end of January.

It was owned by the Matauri X Incorporation, which is attempting to sell subdivisions to clear a $15 million debt that grew following a failed venture into a water bottling business.

Shareholder Dover Samuels says detectives are being stonewalled by the community and have virtually given up because the whanau and iwi have tightened up.

Mr Samuels - a former Maori Affairs Minister under Labour - says when nothing is divulged to the police, they have nowhere to go.