NZ "terrorism" in perspective   |   Indigenous peoples' rights

Key's Tuhoe trip questioned

15 November 2007

Questions are being asked over why police did not accompany National Party leader John Key on a visit to the Ureweras when it was known there was an assassination plot against him.

The alleged plot against the National Party leader, and other politicians including the PM, was made public in material published in two daily newspapers on Thursday.

In August Key made a trip to a remote marae in the Ureweras where police say paramilitary-style training camps were operating and firearms and explosives were stored.

ONE News has been told the Diplomatic Protection Squad - which handles security for senior politicians at parliament - knew about the plot.

But they didn't tell National and in fact provided advice in writing that it was safe to travel to the area.

So with no police presence Key, along with Tau Henare and Georgina te Heuheu, drove miles into the Ureweras to Owhakatoro Marae, which is so remote it has no cellphone coverage

One of those greeting them was Tame Iti, who was arrested in the police raids.

ONE News tried to ask to ask the head of Diplomatic Protection Squad why they allowed Key to travel without police escort. He said he wouldn't comment on security matters.

The Maori Party believes the lack of action shows there was no real threat against Key.

"It seems a contradiction in a sense because on one hand they are so concerned about his safety to believe that there's an assassination attempt going on and on the other hand no protection when he actually goes into the heart of the Tuhoe nation," says MP Te Ururoa Flavell.

Tuhoe refocusing

Spokespeople for Tuhoe say the focus is now back on rehabilitating families still reeling after last month's nationwide police raids.

Hundreds of the tribe marched in a hikoi to Wellington, confronting police and politicians on Wednesday.

Tamati Kruger says they have made their point and now the focus has be be back home.

He says a lot of families are still feeling the hurt after what happened and now the tribe has to look after their own.


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