Winston Peters Statement

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On 9 October 2021 I gave an interview to Newshub on the issue of people who had crossed the Auckland Alert Level 3 border improperly using essential worker credentials. These people were understood to be associated with a member of an organised criminal gang, the Mongrel Mob. This had caused Northland to be plunged into Alert Level 3 for two weeks, with serious economic and social consequences for the region. My concern, as expressed in the interview, was this failure of the alert level boundaries, and the failure of the Government to be transparent with the Northland Community about this having occurred.

Low vaccination levels in Northland, particularly amongst Māori, was then and still is a major concern.

During the interview, based on information that I had obtained from a reliable and credible source, I expressed the view that Mr Harry Tam, a known affiliate of the Mongrel Mob, was one of these people.

On 15 October 2021, Mr Tam’s barrister e-mailed a lawyer who he assumed to be acting for me. That lawyer sent the e-mail on to me but before I became aware of this correspondence, it appears that Mr Tam had chosen to release this correspondence, to the media at the same time he had sent it to the lawyer. I initially became aware of this correspondence through the media.

Mr Tam has said that he was not the Mongrel Mob member that entered Northland. On the basis of what he has said, one aspect of the information that I received, and which informed my view on the matter in the interview, must be wrong. I therefore apologise to Mr Tam for naming him as the Mongrel Mob affiliate who entered Northland with others causing a two week Level 3 lockdown.

I am releasing this correction, based on what Mr Tam has said, to bring attention back to the issue that prompted me to speak to the media in the first place, which I am sure is also important to Mr Tam. That is, three persons were able to cross from Auckland’s alert level border to Northland under false essential worker status, cause a two week lockdown, place the Northland community at risk, and why the Government failed to inform the Northland people about this for days. If Mr Tam knows anything about how this occurred, I do hope he provides that information to the New Zealand police, if he has not already done so.

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