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PM Thinks Harawira Helmet Situation Not Worth Prosecution

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Hone Harawira
Hone Harawira

Wellington, Dec 8 NZPA - In an unusual move Prime Minister John Key today suggested police should not charge Maori MP Hone Harawira for driving without a helmet.

Generally politicians avoid commenting on police investigations and do not suggest what they should do.

However Mr Key today said he did not think it worth prosecuting Mr Harawira for riding a motorbike on Parliament's forecourt without wearing a helmet.

"My own view is nothing should happen," he told reporters this morning.

"For the same reason, I didn't think Shane Ardern should be prosecuted for driving a tractor up the steps of Parliament."

Mr Ardern in 2003 was investigated by police after he drove a tractor called Myrtle up the front steps of Parliament as part of a protest against a "fart tax" over a proposed agricultural levy. Police initially charged him but withdrew it in court and instead gave him with a warning.

"At the end of the day it may well be in breach of the rules and regulations and I am certainly not advocating that people ride motorbikes without helmets, obviously for safety reasons that's very important, but sometimes these things are driven off political reasons as opposed to specifically done for safety reasons."

Labour leader Phil Goff said he was there are the time of the Harawira incident.

"He was not a roadway, he was doing about 5kmh. I think it is a petty issue really," Mr Goff said.

Mr Harawira has been embroiled in a serious row about an unauthorised trip to Paris while on a parliamentary visit to Europe and the racially offensive email he sent in defence of it.

He was allowed to stay in the party but was sent on leave from Parliament until it resumes after the summer recess.

The motorbike incident happened two months ago, when he met a group of anti-violence demonstrators on the forecourt and took a short ride on one of their bikes.

It was pointed out at the time that he wasn't wearing a helmet, but he laughed it off.

TV One News reported last night that a couple of viewers had complained to the police.

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