Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is New Zealand Moving Toward A Police State By Default?

A new piece of legislation slipped through, under urgency, into the statute books last month (just in time for the Auckland elections in a few months?)– the Policing (Involvement in Local Authority Elections) Amendment Bill removed restrictions on serving police in New Zealand standing for local body elections.

Now, if they are elected to local government, they are able to continue working as active police officers.  In the past police in New Zealand were required to take leave during the period of their candidature.

With the removal also goes the principle that those who are responsible for enforcing the law should not also be the ones making it.

Because the bill was passed under urgency the public had no opportunity to have a say in it. The NZ Green and Maori parties objected to it but were out-voted.

Other commonwealth countries have safeguards in place to ensure there is no mix between law making and law enforcement by servants of the state, for example:

In the UK people are disqualified from local authority elections if
  • they are employed by the local authority or hold a paid office under the authority (including joint boards or committees)
  • they hold a politically restricted post
  • they are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
  • they have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before election day
  • they have been disqualified under Part III of the RPA 1983 (which relates to donations and other offences) or under the Audit Commission Act 199831
As the legislation now stands there is nothing to prevent police from forming their own political party in New Zealand, and who knows – maybe even standing in national government elections in the future. Did that consequence even remotely occur to those who voted for the bill? 

The Search and Surveillance Bill goes AWOL

The above bill has been sent back for re-drafting following a great deal of confusion and concern over the powers that it will extend. It should re-emerge in a new version in July, or August.

Only those who commented on the original draft will be permitted to make submissions on the new version and wonders what has happened to the Democratic Process.

The Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill strongly objects to the New Zealand public being locked out of the bill and in a release on the Aotearoa Independent Media Centre website their spokesman said (emphasis ours):
“We wish to be given assurances that new voices will be able to be heard through the submission process and that there will be plenty of time for the people to be heard before the bill returns for its second reading,” Mr Hales said.
The past several years in New Zealand have seen our basic freedoms in this country drastically eroded by new legislation, with the Search and  Surveillance bill being the latest in a series of draconian legislation that all New Zealanders should be concerned about. The Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill believes that security does not come from surveillance and unchecked power but from a free and tolerant society. We do not want new powers of search or surveillance extended to the police or other agencies.
We put all the parliamentarians on notice that we are watching you and watching this bill.” read the full press release on the AIMC here
Other posts you may find interesting:

No Crime in Gisborne, it’s Official - 25 July 2010
“Police in Gisborne want to restrict the information released to the media and give the people in the town the warm and fuzzies.
The question is Is ignorance bliss, or are there other motives for clamming-up about the true extent and nature of crime in Gisborne? It smacks of censorship to us and history has proved that has never been a good thing. Surely it is preferable to create a safer, low crime community rather than mislead people into thinking that it is?”  read more in the Gisborne Herald
Police Minister infuriated at newspaper’s test of security at Super 14s match – reporters testing security at a rugby match weren’t pretending to be terrorists.

It’s official: Politicians can’t take a joke -
“MPs may make fools of themselves from time to time but they want to ban others from doing it. Satire, ridicule and denigration of MPs using any television footage shot from parliamentary galleries is to be banned under rules proposed by the standing orders committee. The move on freedom of expression is not the only controversy the rules have caused. They also create anomalies between what television cameras can show and what newspapers photographers are allowed to show, giving television the advantage…” read more in the Herald
Palmerston North’s Wikipedia page censored -Palmerston North’s page was edited to remove reference to gang violence and crime because overseas investors and professionals were shying away from the city.

The number of recorded violent crimes in Palmy’s City Area increased from 787 in 1999 to 1093 in 2008, and from 794 to 1145 in the rural area. That’s an overall increase in violent crime for the two areas combined of around 40 %. During that same period figures for other crimes had pretty much stayed the same, some had even declined (property abuse, drugs and antisocial)
So is rising violent crime an issue in Palmy? You decide.

All Posts Tagged "Armed Offenders Squad"

Today's posts - click here

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your message here for review.
In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled.


Related Posts with Thumbnails