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Private members bill will protect the protectors

Paul Hutchison
MP for Port Waikato

25 May 2000

Private members bill will protect the protectors

Police would gain a greater level of protection under a bill submitted to the ballot today by National MP Paul Hutchison.

The Police (Conditional) Name Protection Bill would protect the identity of officers involved in firearms incidents during the course of their duties - until such time as a Police Complaints Authority investigation is completed.

Dr Hutchison says in a small country like New Zealand there's a real risk that a police officer or their family could be placed in real danger if their name is published before the facts of an incident have been established.

"The Waitara shooting was a sharp reminder of that potential danger - with the officer involved and his family effectively driven into hiding," Dr Hutchison says.

"In that case the courts ruled name publication was allowed - the High Court's ruling saying 'There can be no right of privacy in respect of an action by a police officer in the course of his public duties in a public street'.

"My bill reflects the fact New Zealand Police take on extraordinary risks in the course of their duties.

"It is only natural justice that they and their families should not be further penalised or endangered by having their names published,' Paul Hutchison says.

Ends

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