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Labour MPs supported gang associates

Published: 8:00PM Thursday October 21, 2010 Source: ONE News

  • Phil Heatley (Source: ONE News)
    Phil Heatley - Source: ONE News

The Housing Minister says he is surprised Labour Party MPs gave support to Mongrel Mob associates fighting eviction from their state houses.

ONE News has learnt that the Lower Hutt families received advice from the MPs before embarking on a legal battle that has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It has been nearly two years since Housing New Zealand tried to turf three women - Robyn Winther, Huia Tamaka and Billy Taylor - out of of their Farmer Crescent, Pomare, homes in March of last year.

The women have challenged Housing New Zealand's 90 day eviction notices, claiming they were being unlawfully punished for the actions of their Mongrel Mob partners.

It has now emerged that Labour MP for Hauraki-Waikato, Nanaia Mahuta, and Labour list MP Charles Chauvel have supported the women.

Mahuta would not be drawn on whether it is appropriate for Labour MPs to be helping out associates of gangs.

"I think it's appropriate for members of parliament to listen to people who've got concerns," she said.

Mahuta and Chauvel said it is unfair for Housing New Zealand to kick the women out when it is the Mongrel Mob partners they live with who are accused of violence and intimidation.

Chauvel, a former lawyer, admits he gave early legal advice before the 19-month court battle.

"I was acting on the request of a colleague, two colleagues in fact - their local MP and their local Maori MP - to come in and join the discussion about what their options might be," said Chauvel.

Asked by ONE News to elaborate on the support she has offered, Mahuta said she listened the group, and gave support "in terms of the nature of the concerns that they bought".

Housing Minister Phil Heatley said he is surprised.

"It's simply extraordinary that any MP would involve themselves in a case against the Crown," said Heatley.

Labour leader Phil Goff's office told ONE News he was not interested in commenting and was happy to let his MPs explain about meetings they have with constituents.