Hone Harawira in court: 'It is a political stand'

SIMON DAY
Last updated 10:34 17/10/2012
Hone Harawira
Mana Party
ARRESTED: Hone Harawira.

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Mana Party leader Hone Harawira said he was making a political stand as he pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a state housing protest.

Harawira today denied the charge of failing to move a vehicle in the Auckland District Court.

Addressing the court in Maori, the MP for Te Tai Tokerau said he did not agree with the state charging him for defending the rights of the poor.

Harawira was arrested last week at a protest against the removal of state houses in Glen Innes.

"You can call it a political stunt. It is a political stand, I am simply there to support them," Harawira said outside the court.

He said the charge, which carried a penalty of a fine, was a joke.

Harawira would represent himself when he appeared next month.

"I pride myself on never having had a lawyer. I have a record better than most lawyers," Harawira said.

Housing New Zealand  was moving 40 state houses from Glen Innes and redeveloping 156 properties to create 260 new homes.

A small group of activists and Mana party supporters gathered outside the Court to support Harawira and the residents of Glen Innes.

Several hundred state houses were facing demolition, sale or removal, when there was a high demand for more affordable housing, Mana vice president John Minto said.

Three protesters arrested last week pleaded not guilty for charges of obstruction, and hindering police.

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