I reckon the Commissioner will be doing some apologising pretty soon.
Archive for the ‘police’ Category
Lots of praise for the new Governor General designate Jerry Mateparae. I agree, understated but strong and straightfoward. A good appointment.
But to date the media has ignored an obvious point – as a former member of the SAS he won’t need the diplomatic protection police around him.
Absolutely capable of protecting himself. The team can catch criminals.
Kiwi cops play an increasingly important role in our foreign policy. They are working alongside diplomats, aid workers and peacekeepers in Afghanistan, Timor Leste, Bougainville (in PNG), Tonga, and in the Solomon Islands.
I was in the Solomons recently in a UN election observer team and caught up with some of the 35 New Zealanders deployed there on six month stints. They are part of a bold experiment in post-conflict state building, helping the Solomons get back on its feet after years of civil conflict.
Keeping citizens safe is the first duty of the state but in 1999-2003 things went bad in the Solomons. Ethnic tensions turned violent and the local police force splintered along ethnic lines with some personnel joining in the fighting. RAMSI, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, was deployed in 2003 with police and defence personnel from NZ, Australia and other Pacific nations charged with getting rid of the guns and keeping the peace.
The police-led mission was remarkably successful at restoring order. However the regional aid effort has found it more difficult to make progress in getting the economy growing or strengthening government. As well as contributing police, New Zealand is leading an excellent multi-donor aid programme helping rebuild the country’s primary education system.
The regional mission is unusual: invited in by the Solomon Islands Parliament but exercising an extraordinary level of influence on the government with foreign advisers in key line ministries. Few people in the Solomons, locals or expats, think RAMSI could pull out tomorrow without the country facing problems. Yet Solomon Islanders rightly want to control their own destiny, and the donors don’t want to keep pouring such large amounts of aid in indefinitely.
Meanwhile on the streets of Honiara, Kiwi police are backing up the local police, advising mostly and taking action when needed. The Kiwis I spoke to were up for the job and full of sympathy for their counterparts but told me how lack of basic equipment makes it difficult for Solomon Islands police to do their job. How would you feel being asked to sort out crime incidents without vehicles, boats, radios, truncheons or handcuffs?
I saw RAMSI police on the streets of Honiara, and on the outer islands. I was impressed by the way they went about their work and got on with the local community. The Solomons faces hard development challenges and it is not clear how soon its regional partners will be able to withdraw with confidence. In the mean time our police are great ambassadors and helping deliver what Solomon Islanders want most: peace and security.
I probably disagree with John Minto about as much as I agree with him in terms of the various statements he makes. I know that he irritates some New Zealanders, but he is someone who stands up staunchly for what he believes, and has played a real part in raising issues that are important to New Zealand and New Zealanders.
If it is true as reported on Stuff that the police are seeking an order to destroy the megaphone he used as part of his protest at the tennis in Auckland last week, then this is shocking. We have to defend the right to protest in this country. I have been on both sides of the fence when it comes to protests and they are a critical part of a functioning democracy. Even if people felt the protest in Auckland was particularly irritating, that is the price of democracy. As it happens the player concerned was able to cope, and made it as far in the tournament as her ability allowed.
The Police have the ability to take action against unlawful protest, and that will work its way through the Courts. But trying to seize a megaphone is a terrible gesture, symbolic as it may be, for the principles of our democracy. This is a time for people including those who fundamentally disagree with John to make clear that this is not the kind of thing we want to see in our country.
Parliament is in the process of passing the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill. It would allow the Police to take DNA samples when they arrest anyone.
I can see the possibilities for better crime prevention in this proposal. But I’m troubled by the lack of any checks and balances in the Bill. A similar English law was set aside by the European Cout of Human Rights on that ground, and the Attorney-General has certified that the NZ Bill breaches the NZ Bill of Rights Act.
I put an amendment up tonight, further to a Labour caucus resolution, that would have required the Police to get a warrant before taking DNA. I reasoned that if they need a warrant to search a building they should need one to apply literal physical compulsion to a person. They don’t have problems finding a JP to grant these warrants so I don’t think getting one to take a DNA sample would be an administrative problem. And we’d have Bill of Rights compliant legislation.
The Greens, Progressives and Maori Party voted with Labour for the amendment. Peter Dunne voted against. So did ACT (so much for being “the liberal party”). And so did the Nats, without really bothering to say why. I guess they think it will play well out in talkbackland.
The Nats adjourned the House before we got to my other amendment – a requirement that Parliament review the operation of the law within 5 years. But it looks like they’ll vote that one down too when we get to it next week. I hope I can be in the House for it. But instead I’ll probably be in the Finance and Expenditure Committee, working through what is becoming pretty much a universally-condemned Emissions Trading Amendment Bill. Sigh.
Not a good day for civil liberties.
When Ministers in the previous Labour government opened new buildings or conferences, it was their custom to acknowledge National Party MPs who had made a special contribution to the event or opening. Not to do so is small-minded.
Police Minister Judith Collins consistently shows herself to be just so small-minded. That doesn’t worry me personally, but I was absolutely gobsmacked on Friday when she opened the new Christchurch South police station, and failed to mention the immense debt this new building owes to the advocacy of Progressive MP Jim Anderton over a decade and a half. Instead, Collins trumpeted the new building as proof of National’s commitment to police and policing. National had nothing to do with this new station except as de facto purchasers of the ribbon Judith Collins cut. The station was planned and funded under Labour, but inspired by Jim Anderton’s tireless support.
Judith Collins was incredibly ungracious. The police and public around the country have come to expect that, but Jim Anderton deserved better. Perhaps this picture of Jim and former Minister Annette King turning the first sod at the station site helps redress the balance.