Māori Party file IPCA complaint against police for response to racist threat

The Māori Party has lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA), saying police failed to properly investigate a racist threat targeting the party’s co-leaders.

The complaint comes after a YouTube video posted last weekend made specific threats towards Māori Party leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi, and Māori people in general.

Ngarewa-Packer said the party lodged a complaint on Monday and didn’t hear back till Wednesday.

Although the video had now been taken down, there were grave concerns for the leaders.

The contents of the video were hateful and racist, referencing violence toward Māori and “civil war”.

The Herald has chosen not to share specifics of the video due to the graphic detail.

The Department of Internal Affairs had the video quickly removed from YouTube the morning after it was posted.

The DIA reminded people that making, sharing or holding objectionable material is an offence under the Films, Video, Publications and Classifications Act. Whether the video is considered objectionable is yet to be confirmed.

A submission has been made to the Office of Film and Literature Classification to determine if the content is classified as objectionable.

“We are more than disappointed by the lack of police response to our complaint,” Ngarewa-Packer said.

“Communication and response time was inadequate; the police have continued to minimise the nature of the threat against us and our people.”

Ngarewa-Packer and Waititi compared police handling of the case to that of Simeon Brown, where police responded to threats made against the “Pākehā MP”.

“We understand the perpetrator of the video threat against us is a white supremacist who admitted to the creating and uploading the video. He was spoken to but not seen as a threat due to mental health issues.

“In Simeon Brown’s case on the other hand, we understand that two Māori have already appeared in court and charged for threatening to kill. It reeks of racial injustice and white privilege.”

Addressing the wider national issue of racism, Waititi says the Government had to take responsibility for protecting its indigenous peoples by adopting policy, systems and processes that “eliminate the ability for hate speech and violence to occur”.

Police have been approached for comment.

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