An Auckland University student claims she was knocked unconscious and dragged to the footpath by police during a protest over a state housing redevelopment in Auckland where Mana Party MP Hone Harawira was arrested.
But police say there were no reported injuries at Thursday night's protest in Glen Innes and that they acted professionally.
Housing New Zealand said the protesters were intimidating state house tenants.
Mr Harawira, leader of the Mana Party and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, was one of seven people arrested at the protest that went on into early yesterday.
He was charged with failure to remove a vehicle that he had allegedly parked over a driveway in an effort to stop the state house removals.
Mr Harawira said he was arrested about 11.30pm, taken to Auckland Central police station, and held in a cell before his release about 3.30am.
He spent the time "thinking and planning", he said. "I wasn't fussed by it. I don't have any complaints, except that the operation overall was seriously over the top.
"There was no need for some of the aggression against the other people."
Police had smashed a window in his car during the incident.
Some of the others arrested were charged with obstructing the police who were arresting Mr Harawira, and those who sat on the roof of a house being moved were charged with wasting police time.
Student Cate Bell, 20, said she could not recall exactly what happened to her but was told she was knocked over while trying to prevent a truck from removing a house.
"I don't remember because I was knocked out cold. But I was told I was pushed and smashed my head on the concrete."
She was concussed and spent the night in Auckland City Hospital.
Mr Harawira said: "I parked my car in front of a truck and shone my light up high on the woman on the roof. I stayed in my car. They broke into my car and smashed at least one window and arrested me."
But an Auckland police spokeswoman said the situation was well managed by officers and said some people would go to "some lengths" to discredit police.
"We absolutely believe we acted professionally," Noreen Hegarty said.
"The situation was well managed by the officers to the extent that we brought Search and Rescue to take down the protesters from the roof in a manner that was safe for all those concerned."
No injuries had been reported to police. "The staff were stood down at 2.20am and there was nothing about reports of any injuries."
Officers had managed to clear all the vehicles to allow the passage of the truck and trailer unit, except for one vehicle which was driven and occupied by Mr Harawira.
"Repeated attempts were made to converse with Mr Harawira who refused to acknowledge police directions and remained locked in his vehicle.
"The house removal driver advised he could not remove his truck and trailer without the removal of Mr Harawira's vehicle. After exhaustive attempts to converse with Mr Harawira, including written requests placed on his windscreen, the decision was made to enter the vehicle and this was done with the use of an automotive glass entry devise borrowed from the tow company, shortly after midnight."
Meanwhile, Housing NZ yesterday hit out at protesters, saying its tenants were feeling pressured to take part in protest action.
"Since the project was announced, we have been receiving regular calls from affected tenants to say they are feeling pressured to participate in protest action, which has been largely organised and run by people who are not impacted by the redevelopment," the general manager of asset development, Sean Bignell, said.
"They are deliberately providing misinformation to families, which is causing unnecessary stress."
Mr Bignell said the project would make Glen Innes a safer and better area to live in. It would create more homes as well as warmer and drier state homes.
The Glen Innes project aimed to redevelop 156 properties to create at least 260 new houses.
Of those, 78 would be owned by Housing NZ, at least 39 would be market-based affordable houses, and the remainder would be for private sale.
Another 40 state houses were being modernised in Glen Innes, with exterior upgrades to a further 276 state rental houses across Tamaki.
Housing NZ had been keeping in regular contact with affected families, 70 of whom had chosen to transfer to other state homes early.
All 70 families had transferred to homes in locations of their choice, Mr Bignell said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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