Stanton unrepentant after latest arrest

01:05, Feb 01 2013
LEFT BEHIND: Angela Moss with Barney the horse in Bridge St , Nelson after Barney's owner Hone Ma Heke (Lewis Stanton) was arrested by police.

Horse and cart man Lewis Stanton's central city antics have got him into hot water again.

Mr Stanton was arrested in Nelson's Bridge St at around 1pm yesterday and he was taken away by police, leaving his horse Barney, cart and trailer occupying two parks. But he was back again an hour later saying he'd only been given a warning and would not be moving on.

"I'll park wherever I have to park, just the same as anybody else."

He said because "I'm not a motorised vehicle" he didn't have to pay for his parking. Neither did his trailer need to be warranted or registered.

His grievance was against the Nelson City Council and "If they're going to step on my toes, yes, I'm going to jump back on theirs."

He expected to end up in court again, he said.


"I will use the court as a public and political forum as long as I have to, to get some points across."

Police acting area commander Inspector Ross Lienert confirmed that Mr Stanton had been given a warning after being arrested by a policewoman sent in response to a complaint.

It was a "one off incident" and Mr Stanton had been released after he calmed down.

Shop-owners have complained to the Nelson City Council and police about Mr Stanton's occupation of carparks, saying his presence is detrimental to their businesses. Concerns have also been raised about Barney's welfare, since he is in the cart's shafts all day, often in the hot sun for long periods without moving.

Asked about his horse's welfare, Mr Stanton said he had to bring Barney into town to collect donations to feed him.

"He is my transport, he is my home, he is my family."

Mr Stanton, who calls himself Hone Ma Heke, has run up a fistful of parking fines in the central city over the past few weeks and has said he has "absolutely no intention" of paying up. A few hours before his arrest he phoned a reporter to say the total had reached $612.

SPCA senior inspector Craig Crowley said he was in frequent contact with Mr Stanton, who looked after Barney "reasonably well". He said the horse could best be described as being in "working condition" and was provided with food and water.

On the question of shade, he said animals were confined in the sun and without shade at stock sale yards and on farms all around the district at this time of year. He would continue to monitor Barney's condition and treatment, Mr Crowley said.

The Nelson City Council has said Mr Stanton will be treated the same as anyone else who is issued with parking tickets, which might eventually lead to court action.

In November last year Mr Stanton's conviction for obstructing the footpath in Trafalgar St was overturned by the High Court. He had sat on the footpath on and off for 16 months in protest against the city council's free camping rules.

Since then he's been in further battles with the council over where he can camp with Barney.