New Zealand Police have arrested and charged a man after deaths threats were made to a Member of Parliament who is also the National Party’s spokesman for police matters.
The 25-year-old accused was taken into custody without incident on Friday at a property in Lower Hutt, a city within the Wellington metro area, and will appear in court next week on a charge of threatening to kill.
A local police spokesperson, Detective Inspector Darrell Harpur, said on Friday afternoon that officers had worked “under urgency” in the lead-up to the arrest.
“I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of our staff from both the Criminal Investigation Branch in Counties Manukau, where the original complaint was received, and the team in Lower Hutt who located the alleged offender today,” he told the media.
Threatened MP has spoken out
As the matter is now before the courts, police said they would be making no further comment.
But the threatened MP, Simeon Brown, has not been silent and announced on Tuesday that: “I’ve had a number of threats come through basically saying they’re going to shoot me”.
The threats are believed to relate to his criticism of NZ Green Party co-leader, Marama Davidson, for her visit to a hui (a large social gathering) organised by the Mongrel Mob in Waikato, an area on the North Island, last weekend.
The Mongrel Mob is a well-known street gang in New Zealand, with multiple chapters around the country.
Brown had hit out at Davidson for her attendance, saying it was an insult to victims of crime by gang members.
Visit gave the gang ‘credibility’
“A Minister of the Crown going to their gang pad not only gives them credibility, but emboldens them in terms of what they’re trying to do in our community. I find that absolutely shocking,” Brown said.
He has also previously been highly critical of the Waikato Mongrel Mob and said at a parliamentary select committee in March: “When are your members going to hand in their firearms and stop selling meth, which destroys lives in our community?”
Davidson has defended her actions, explaining that: “It’s vital we talk to a range of communities and I was happy to accept their invitation”.
Sonny Fatupaito, the President of the Waikato Mongrel Mob, issued his own statement saying the death threats were wrong and should not be tolerated.