Almost a week after the attack, Pita Sharples gets around to expressing his outrage

Let’s check out the time sequence.

A family was assaulted in Hastings on 4 June.

An NZPA report was posted on the Herald website next day.

The Herald – so help us – yesterday reported the same crime under the heading Hunt on for thugs who attacked family

And then – lo and behold – Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples got around to expressing his outrage and denouncing the buggers who engaged in the attack.

Yep. By then it was almost a week after the event.

The NZPA’s report last weekend reported that a Hastings family was recovering after being attacked when they stopped their vehicle in a city street the previous night.

This is the highly reliable news outfit that – thanks to the withdrawal of financial support from Fairfax – is being shut down.

The Herald posted the NZPA item at 2.10pm last Sunday under the headline Family assaulted in Hastings.

The 51-year-old male driver stopped in Nelson Street after an object hit his vehicle but when he got out he was attacked by up to six people, a police spokesman said.

Two women in the vehicle, aged 48 and 26, were also assaulted, as was a 47-year-old man from a nearby house who came to the family’s aid.

“All three occupants of the vehicle were treated at Hastings Hospital and the driver has been treated for facial fractures,” the spokesman said.

“This was a completely unprovoked assault and police are seeking the assistance of the public to apprehend those involved.”

Police were wanting to hear from anyone with information.

The Herald took until 5:30am yesterday to post its own account of the assaults.

Police are hunting a group of offenders who attacked a family of three like “a pack of dogs”.

The Hastings victims are still reeling from Saturday night’s assault, which detectives have described as “vicious and unprovoked”.

The father, 51, was beaten almost beyond recognition and his wife and daughter suffered cuts, bruises and fractures after the attack by a group of up to six.

This report tells us how the family had left their home for the supermarket when two men darted in front of their car. Then it gives the family’s account of what happened.

Last night a press release emerged from the Maori Party under the name of Dr Pita Sharples

It was headed Maori must step up and turn the tides on violent crimes

In the statement Sharples tells us he was

… outraged by an attack on a whanau in Hastings on Saturday night, by a group of young people.

“It really gets under my skin what happened to this whanau in Hastings. A whole whanau was beaten – that is just not on, we must do something to prevent this sort of thing from happening,” said Dr. Sharples

“These violent assaults and thuggery by youths cannot be tolerated.”

Bearing in mind people are being beaten up much too often on a daily basis, it looks suspiciously as if the trigger for this expression of outrage was that three people, not just one, had been attacked.

Any other triggers?

Oh, yes. The race thing comes into it.

“The initial reports on this incident indicated that the youths could possibly be Maori, but we don’t know that for sure. If that’s the case then we must take the lead as Maori families and communities to turn our kids around from behaviour like this.” Said Dr. Pita Sharples

Sharples proceeded to thump the tub about the need for rehabilitative programmes, community and marae youth courts etc, and the need to stop these offences from occurring through early prevention and intervention.

“I am asking that as whanau, and as a community, we take a lead on steering our kids away from crime, particularly violent crimes. What we need to do is stand up and start taking responsibility for what’s happening within our wider whanau”

“We need to stop the silence on violence. Somebody must know what happened in this instance, and I am urging them to come forward.”

Great stuff.

It’s a pity the call to come forward wasn’t made a week earlier when the trail was fresh.

Since the attack Sharples’ ministerial office has released his thoughts (on 6 June) on the Queen’s Birthday honours list and (on 9 June) a newly published Maori Youth Council report.

He also got huffy about that Rankin feller’s Waitangi Tribunal challenge to the legitimacy of the Kingitanga (it was “both ill-informed and mischievous”).

One explanation for his tardy expression of outrage about the Hastings attacks might be that he didn’t know about it until the Herald came up with its account early yesterday.

The Herald report tells us the father of the assaulted family has a broken nose, fractured cheek bones and swelling; his daughter has stitches to a cut near her eye, a fractured cheek bone and bruising; and his wife has lumps, scratches and bruising.

The offenders are described as a mixed group of Maori males and females in their late teens and early 20s.

Ah. Alf doesn’t recall seeing that bit in the original NZPA report.

Is that what got Sharples going?

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