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PM is damaging New Zealanders' faith in police

Prime Minister is damaging New Zealanders' faith in police

Rt Hon Jenny Shipley

Leader of the Opposition

Friday 5 May 2000

Prime Minister is damaging New Zealanders' faith in police

The Prime Minister must withdraw her increasingly incendiary comments about police and the Waitara shooting, Opposition leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"She has lifted concerns about the shooting to a grave level and is undermining police not just in Taranaki but around New Zealand.

"If she has actual evidence based on today's situation in Waitara that backs up her claims than she should release it. Otherwise, she has no choice but to acknowledge she has gone too far and offer an apology to the police, offer them her backing and avoid further erosion of the public's confidence.

"If she cannot bring herself to do that, then frankly she should shut herself down.

"This small community is having a hard enough time dealing with the tragedy without the Prime Minister's inflammatory comments.

"For the police to do their work properly, they depend on the public trust of New Zealanders. We've been fortunate in this country that for generations that trust has been deservedly very high.

"For Helen Clark to compare the Waitara shootings to police actions in London and Los Angeles, as she has done in today's Dominion, is bizarre.

"I have already heard from police from around the country who have said that her comments are making it harder for them to do their job.

"We know nothing about the full facts behind the Waitara shooting and, for that matter, nothing about the background of the police officer involved," Mrs Shipley said.


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