Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Government urged to take tool of torture seriously

Harawira urges Government to take the 'tool of torture' seriously

Hone Harawira, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau

Tuesday 27 November 2007

The Maori Party is urging all parties to critically review the report from the United Nations Committee Against Torture which concludes that use of taser weapons can be a form of torture, in violation of the UN Convention Against Torture.

“The Committee Against Torture was absolutely clear” said Hone Harawira. “The report states that “the Committee was worried that the use of TaserX26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death”.

“I don’t get it” said Harawira. “Here we have another UN body identifying that use of the taser gun is an outright violation of human rights, that its use is considered a form of torture – which the New Zealand Government has signed an ‘optional protocol’ to oppose – and yet there's still silence from the government about use of taser guns”.

"Or is this just a case of silence implies consent?" asked Harawira.

“On the 26th of October this year, Damien O’Connor told the House that the Commissioner of Police has acknowledged “that the police are hoping the taser trial is successful”, and the Minister went further to describe it as a “useful tool’”which could be deployed across the country”.

“Just how ‘useful’ it is, is demonstrated by the fact that in the last week, four men in the United States and two in Canada were killed by police use of taser” said Harawira.

The Maori Party took up an official Notice of Complaint with the Human Rights Commission, on the grounds that there will be unlawful discrimination in the use of taser guns by Police during the trial, under the Human Rights Act 1993; and there has been a breach of human rights through the introduction of the taser gun trial by the Government, under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

“We have always said that Police need training in tact and diplomacy as a key skill rather than adding into their current arsenal an additional and lethal weapon of restraint” said Harawira.

“Having a gun on hand which lodges electric shocks of 50,000 volts with each pull of the trigger just encourages a culture of violence in policing, making both the public and the police more at risk and accepting of violence”.

“The Maori Party urges the Government to wake up and take this tool of torture seriously. The soon-to-be-released Police report on the taser trial (expected around 14 December), should only be considered in light of the UN Committee Against Torture's report and the real fact of taser deaths" ended Harawira.


- The Committee Against Torture reports progress on the 145 states who are party to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

- New Zealand ratified the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in November 2006 after passing the Crimes in Torture Amendment Bill.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news