Te Pāti Māori claims it has been snubbed by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, leaving the co-leaders disgusted and disappointed.
But police say the Commissioner gave notice that he couldn’t attend today’s meeting, is looking to reschedule for later this week, and that Detective Superintendent Greg Nicholls still met with the party’s MPs today.
Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said they had been given assurances of a meeting with Coster today to discuss how police deal with threats towards Māori, and police officers’ disproportionate treatment of Māori.
“For the Commissioner not to show up and to do a complete no-show on Te Pāti Māori is disgusting,” Ngarewa-Packer said.
“It tells us exactly how he sees it and we couldn’t be more disappointed. It shows us exactly how serious – or not – the Commissioner, the highest level in the police, is treating racism and white supremacist attacks towards tangata whenua.
“And we didn’t even get notification he wasn’t showing up.”
A police spokesperson disputes this, saying Coster gave notice that he wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting today.
Te Pāti Māori has accused police of double standards over the differences in how it dealt with death threats against Māori and death threats against National MP Simeon Brown.
Last week the party lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority, alleging that police had failed to properly investigate a racist threat targeting the party’s co-leaders.
It followed a YouTube video – since taken down – that made specific threats towards Ngarewa-Packer and Waititi, and Māori people in general.
The party had lodged a complaint with police on a Monday, but didn’t hear back from police until Wednesday.
The co-leaders have also asked for a joint taskforce across Government to investigate anti-Māori hate speech from white supremacist organisations.
They were also ejected from the House recently after accusing the National Party of a line of questioning – relating to the He Puapua report – that they said was racist.
Ngarewa-Packer said they were seeking assurances from Coster that he was addressing issues of “systemic racism” in police, as well as how police were dealing with threats made against tangata whenua in recent weeks.
Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi said Coster’s no-show added more emphasis to the need for change within the police force.
“We’re really disappointed at the way we’ve been treated through this whole process. We’ve been putting pressure on this Government and the Minister of Police about the racial profiling of Māori, and the way we’re treated within the system.
“Today was a prime example of how Māori are actually treated … The very top needs to lead by example.”
Waititi said they had sought and been assured of a meeting with Coster after Police Minister Poto Williams kept saying police behaviour towards Māori was an operational issue.
“Here was our opportunity to actually to see what was happening in an operational part of police – and they didn’t turn up. So we’re really, really disappointed.”
Asked for their message to Coster, Ngarewa-Packer said: “You should have showed up.”
Added Waititi: “Where were you?”
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