Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Police seek help to identify culprit after MPs’ offices vandalised

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Police released a photo of a person they want to speak to in relation to a series of wilful damage incidents at MPs’ offices. Photo supplied

Multiple MPs’ offices in Auckland were vandalised by a group protesting the military conflict in Gaza in the Middle East.

National Party leader and incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s Botany electorate office was among those splashed with red paint overnight on November 23 by the group Tamaki for Palestine.

ACT Party leader David Seymour’s Epsom office and numerous other National Party MPs’ offices, including those of Dan Bidois, Judith Collins, Paul Goldsmith, Melisa Lee and Simon Watts, were targeted also.

News media reported the group sent a press release about their actions saying the National and ACT politicians are “complicit in the deaths of thousands in Gaza” and the paint represents them having “blood on their hands”.

The group is understood to be calling on National, ACT and New Zealand First to call for a ceasefire of the war in Gaza and for the New Zealand Government to cut diplomatic ties with Israel.

Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins last week called for a ceasefire in the conflict.

Luxon labelled the move “unhelpful” and said conditions must be met for a ceasefire to work.

Israel has been carrying out a military action in Gaza since a terror attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed the lives of about 1200 people in Israel on October 7.

Police have publicly released a photo of a person they want to speak to in relation to the vandalism carried out at Auckland MPs’ offices.

The person in the image is wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, black shoes, and a black cap and Covid facemask.

He has gloves on and is carrying a white bag in one hand.

Detective Inspector Callum McNeill says police obtained the CCTV image in relation to an incident of wilful damage at an office on Earnoch Avenue in Takapuna at about 1.30am on November 23.

The office is understood to belong to National Party North Shore MP Simon Watts.

“We would like to identify this individual, and I’m asking anyone who knows who they are to get in touch,” McNeill says.

“Likewise anyone with information about this incident, or similar reports of wilful damage in the early hours, is asked to contact police so we can hold these offenders to account.”

A spokesperson for Luxon told the Times: “We support the right of individuals and groups to freely express their views, but everyone should do so legally, respectfully and peacefully.”

People with information on the vandalism can phone police on 105 or go online to www.police.govt.nz/use-105 and reference file number 231123/9959.

Information can also be provided anonymously through Crimestoppers by phoning 0800 555 111.

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