Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Woman charged over vandalism of MPs’ offices

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Red paint was thrown onto the outside of Botany MP and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s local electorate office one night in November last year. Photo supplied

A woman is facing charges over vandalism at the local electorate offices of Members of Parliament including that of Botany MP and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

Police say they’ve made an arrest as part of an investigation into vandalism at Auckland electorate offices in recent months.

Acting detective senior sergeant Matt Bartlett says the incidents happened between November, 2023, and January, 2024, across the region.

This week police charged a woman as part of enquiries conducted so far.

“The 27-year-old has been charged with six counts of intentional damage, and she’s been bailed to appear at the Manukau District Court on February 21,” Bartlett says.

“Police recognise and respect the right to freedom of expression and the right to protest, however our role is also to uphold the law.

“Police will continue to investigate and act upon instances where criminal offending is identified.”

Investigations are continuing and further arrests and charges cannot be ruled out, Bartlett says.

As the Times has previously reported, red paint was thrown onto the outside of Luxon’s Botany office on November 23 last year. It was quickly removed.

A group protesting the military conflict in Gaza in the Middle East vandalised multiple MPs’ offices across Auckland in similar fashion.

Israel has carried out an invasion of Gaza since a terror attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed the lives of about 1200 people in Israel on October 7.

News media reported the protest group Tamaki for Palestine had claimed responsibility for the vandalism.

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

Following the acts of vandalism, police publicly released a photo of a person they wanted to speak to in relation to what they described as a series of wilful damage incidents at 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 said 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 said.

“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.”

After Luxon’s Botany office was vandalised, a National Party spokesperson said: “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 and reference file number 231123/9959.

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

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