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The system works: hysteria not justified

9 November 2007

The system works: hysteria not justified

The Solicitor-General’s decision not to allow terrorism charges to be pressed shows our democratic system works well, Progressive leader Jim Anderton said today. “Those making outrageous and alarmist statements should have waited for the legal process.”

Jim Anderton was reiterating his comments before the Solicitor-General’s decision was released that people should wait for the legal process. “What the Solicitor-General’s decision has done is show that extremists who called New Zealand a ‘police state’ and alleging there are ‘political prisoners’ were devaluing the language of protest and accountability.

“There are places, like Zimbabwe, where suspects are beaten or killed by the police and military, where torture is common, and where there are no rights to free speech or fair trial. To compare New Zealand with those situations, to piggy-back on that suffering, is sick.

“The decision on the charges shows how well our system respects human rights and due process.

“The rhetoric we have heard encourages some to extremism. A ‘victim’ tone is provocative, divisive, suggesting ‘them or us’, and it invites escalation and revenge. One example was Hone Harawira’s statement in parliament comparing New Zealand to ‘jingoistic, acid-drenched, hate-filled, anti-Islamic, death to anyone from the Middle East, vitriolic, poisonous claptrap’.

“That statement showed contempt for the legal and political process. But the process has worked, despite the unhelpful expressions designed to stoke extremism,” Jim Anderton said.

He added that those who have claimed Maori were being targeted, or that ‘all Maori have been branded terrorists’ by the arrests, are feeding a victim mentality and stoking extremism.

“It is people who make those kinds of comments who are making the link, and their efforts are outrageous, alarmist and smother the truth. Expressing solidarity with people and seeking accountability where people perceive mistreatment is valuable - but Maori Party MPs should not have fuelled divisiveness by wrongly linking the operation to all Maori.”

ENDS

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