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Death 'threat' on campaign trail for Green Party’s Efeso Collins, man found

Joseph Los'e,
Publish Date
Fri, 15 Sep 2023, 11:25AM
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Death 'threat' on campaign trail for Green Party’s Efeso Collins, man found

Joseph Los'e,
Publish Date
Fri, 15 Sep 2023, 11:25AM

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air 

Green Party candidate Efeso Collins has revealed he was the target of a death threat after the political party released a policy on ending poverty in Aotearoa. 

Just after the policy release, an electronic message arrived at the Greens’ headquarters outlining threats to Collins and suggesting he would be “executed”. 

The Green Party called in police because of the seriousness of the threat. 

“Police got in contact and told me threats were made against me,” Collins told the Herald. 

“The detective said the threat was along the lines of they want to execute me. I never had official copy of the threat. The detective was also shocked by the gist of the threat.” 

Collins, who is 11th on the Green Party list, said the threat made him reassess his priorities. 

“Threats like that create a level of doubt, but I was more concerned for my family, and I didn’t want to have to keep looking over my shoulder. 

Green Party candidate Efeso Collins. Photo / Greg BowkerGreen Party candidate Efeso Collins. Photo / Greg Bowker 

“I thought do I really want to take my family through all this kind of mud all over again. 

“I can’t fathom those words he wrote, and why you would even be that angry with someone you don’t know? 

“This has had a serious emotional impact on my entire family.” 

A police spokesperson confirmed the threat was serious and an investigation was able to track down the keyboard warrior. 

“Police investigated a report of electronic threats,” the spokesperson said. 

“A 58-year-old Auckland man was subsequently identified in the investigation. 

“The man admitted fault. The victim has been across this and the outcome. 

“The man was referred to the Te Pae Oranga process which has now been completed.” 

Te Pae Oranga Iwi Community Panels are a restorative justice way that Police and iwi/Māori partners deal with crime and prevent reoffending. 

Collins is glad the Auckland man has been caught and dealt with. 

“I’m glad the police were able to locate who it was,” Collins said. 

“I’m glad this person has been brought to some justice for what he has done. There must be consequences and whether they mean it or not, the facts are they have done it. 

“You can’t sit on a keyboard and make threats against people.” 

When asked what he would like to say to the keyboard warrior, an emotional Collins replied: 

“I would like to say to him, why would you do this to a person you don’t even know? I have young children and all I think about is my kids. I want that man to know that my wife and I are wary of their safety. 

“Even my parents - who are in their 80s - offered to sit outside our house or make sure the kids were safe. It put us all on alert. Think about the damage you have created and you must accept that is not acceptable.” 

This was not the first time Collins, a former Auckland councillor has been the target of threats. 

In 2021, threats were made after he criticised TV show Police Ten 7 for stereotyping Polynesians. 

“It took me back to the bomb threats I got in 2021 when I criticised the TV show Ten 7 for stereotyping Polynesian people,” Collins said. 

“They never found that person but we had police and the bomb squad come through my apartment complex and my council office. 

“It was an awful feeling for this to come up again because I have a young family and that is my main concern. 

“I wonder what the psyche of the person, whether he wanted to discourage me and that created some doubt in my mind of if I am doing the right thing.” 

Collins, who is standing in the Labour-entrenched seat of Panmure-Ōtāhuhu, said campaigning in his “own turf” was much easier than when he ran for the Auckland mayoralty against Wayne Brown. 

He said the racial abuse and snide innuendo made him wonder if he was cut out for public office. 

“During the mayoral campaign, I would turn up to debates and could hear racial slurs like coconut and words to that effect,” Collins said. 

“I don’t get that door knocking around my own hood.” 

Joseph Los’e joined NZME in 2022 as Kaupapa Māori Editor. Los’e was a chief reporter, news director at the Sunday News newspaper covering crime, justice and sport. He was also editor of the NZ Truth and prior to joining NZME worked for 12 years for Te Whānau o Waipareira. 

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