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Minister happy with thorough inquiry

3 February 2005 Media Statement

Minister happy with thorough inquiry

The Minister of Police, George Hawkins, completely rejects the assertion made in Time magazine that NZ has a weak anti-child pornography regime.

"Our policing of this pernicious and immoral trade is second to none – and we certainly aren't a haven for paedophiles," said Mr Hawkins.

"I am happy that the joint Police, Customs and Department of Internal Affairs investigation into information received from the US Customs Department is proceeding appropriately.

"I have been advised by officials that investigations into international traffic of child pornography images are very complex and need to be handled with great care. As a result they often take a long time.

"The joint team is making sure all elements of the investigation are being carefully managed so that the Courts will be presented with fully documented cases to give a high chance of successful prosecutions. The operation is being overseen by Deputy Commissioner Steve Long.

"This operation is one of many investigations under current laws which are undertaken by the Police, Customs and Department of Internal Affairs every year into trading and possession of child pornography.

"New Zealand authorities have had many successes since 1996 when the special unit was established at the Department of Internal Affairs. Since then nearly 150 offenders have been convicted and in the last 2 years 15 offenders have received gaol sentences to recognise the seriousness of their offending.

"The Films, Videos, Publications and Classification Amendment Bill intends to increase the search powers available to the authorities and to increase 10-fold the severity of some penalties. It is scheduled for its second reading next week.

ENDS

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