Christchurch police today continued their search for a man wanted in connection with an alleged violation of electoral laws.
The man, believed to be Labour Party leader David Cunliffe, allegedly sent a tweet on the day of the Christchurch East by-election, telling people to vote for Labour’s candidate. He almost immediately deleted the tweet.
Detective Inspector John Wilkins, who is leading the police armed response to the tweet, said Cunliffe was a dangerous man who should not be approached under any circumstances by members of the public.
“A man who is prepared to brazenly breach electoral laws by sending a tweet to his followers on the day of a by-election is capable of almost anything,” said Detective Inspector Wilkins.
Cunliffe admitted sending the tweet, but was unapologetic about his actions.
“They won’t ever shut me down!” the Labour leader shouted at reporters this morning as he made his escape from pursuing Electoral Commission officials and police officers. “Not if every copper in the country comes at me. Let them try!”
Cunliffe later taunted police via a statement issued through his chief of staff.
“Listen up, coppers,” said Cunliffe. “You’re calling me a criminal. You’re saying I did a bad thing. But I didn’t do nothing wrong. It’s all your laws what are wrong!
“Leave me alone, or you’ll be sorry. Come at me with all your men and them dogs and I’ll make you wish you hadn’t. You seen what happened to the last man who messed with me. The last man who took me on ended up in his political grave. Are you tougher than David Shearer?
“If you try to take me down I will unleash hell, by seeking cross-party support to amend the Electoral Act. Are you really prepared for that?
“You will never take me alive!”
Police are taking Cunliffe’s threat seriously.
“Do not approach this man,” said Detective Inspector Wilkins. “He could be dangerous, and he may still be wielding a smartphone.”