The molotov cocktail attack on Prime Minister John Key’s electorate office today is the third attempted arson in the area in the past month, although police say it does not appear they were linked.
The fire at Mr Key’s Kumeu electorate office was caused by a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window, police at the scene confirmed.
Fire safety officers and police were investigating the blaze, which started at about 3am.
The Fire Service was alerted at 3.05am by two phone calls from the public – one from a passer-by and another by a neighbour.
A blackened window at front left of the house appeared to be the point of entry.
Rodney area commander Janet Hope said the damage caused was very minor, including charring on the window frame and smoke damage.
Ms Hope said electorate staff had indicated there had been nothing recently which could have provided a motive for the incident.
“We don’t have any definite lines of inquiry at the moment,” she said.
Fire service northern communications shift manager Paul Radden said the fire was quickly extinguished.
IDLING CAR HEARD
Steve Nobilo lives across the road from the electorate office.
He and a woman who also lives at the house heard breaking glass and a car idling at around 3am.
The woman, who didn’t want to be named, said she knew it was 3am because she looked at her alarm clock.
She said she thought it was people smashing glass which had been put out for recycling.
“It would have been the window smashing, then I heard a car idling. It sounded like a very big car, then it just drove off,” she said.
The couple said they were in bed and their bedroom window was right on the road.
“And then the fire alarm went off, which was the most dreadful sound you could have heard and it went on and on, and the fire brigade came and that was it.”
The woman said it was a quiet area and there was little traffic at that time of night.
OTHER ARSON ATTACKS
Two Saturdays ago, a small fire was started on the deck of the music room at the Waimauku School just up the road from Mr Key’s office, while there was also an arson attack at the Helensville Rugby Club.
Waimauku School principal Gary Pasfield said someone had found lost property on the school’s grounds, piled it up on the deck of the music room and set it alight.
A passerby spotted the fire before the building caught alight and kicked the burning clothing off the deck before serious damage was done.
“Had it been a couple of minutes later we could have had the whole building go up,” Mr Pasfield said.
The fire, which was started at between 6.30 and 7.00 in the morning, had melted part of the downpipe and charred the side of the building.
Ms Hope said that initial indications were that the fire at Mr Key’s electorate office was a different kind of arson attack, with a different method of trying to start the fire.
“Initially there doesn’t seem to be a link. We’re mindful that we’ve had other fires in the area.”
“Those fires are still being investigated but on the face of it they don’t appear to be linked to this fire.”
A spokesman for Mr Key said there would be no comment on the fire at this stage.
Prime ministers’ electorate offices have been the target of attacks in the past.
In 2004 an axe attack was made on the Auckland electorate office of then prime minister Helen Clark.
Political activist Tim Selwyn was convicted on a sedition charge for his involvement in the attack, and was jailed for two months.
In January last year a brick was thrown through the window of Miss Clark’s electorate office.
– with NZPA