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Police Commissioner's excuses ring hollow: Greens

15 December 2008

Police Commissioner's excuses ring hollow: Greens

Green MP Keith Locke says Police Commissioner Howard Broad's reasons for planting agents in protest groups only makes matters worse.

"It is unacceptable for Mr. Broad to treat legitimate protest groups as breeding grounds for dangerous criminals, thereby justifying police infiltration," said Mr. Locke, the Party's Police spokesperson.

"The aim of peace and environmental groups is to engage with the political process to produce a better society, not plan for its downfall through terrorist actions.

"According to the 2005 Police Annual Report, the Special Investigation Group is 'dedicated to the investigation of national security-related crime, including terrorism.' Agent Rob Gilchrist's spying on Greenpeace, Save Happy Valley, and Animal Action cannot be justified by this purpose. It is laughable to think that members of these groups are involved in any criminal behaviour, let alone serious, national security-related crime.

"To the contrary, peace and environmental groups have been bringing to public attention dangers to our national security for years. For example, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund's investment in companies involved in producing nuclear weapons has been recently highlighted-a matter which the Fund has now sought to rectify.

"Surely the Police would be better placed working alongside such groups and liaising with them, rather than sending in spies.

"It is certainly prejudicial for Mr. Broad to imply peace and environmental groups are more likely to harbour dangerous criminals than, for example, the National or ACT parties, particularly after some very dubious activity in the finance sector over the past year.

"The Green Party is also concerned that some of its own emails were forwarded by their agent, Rob Gilchrist, to the Special Investigation Group. We will be asking the Police whether they encourage this practice. There is no evidence to date that they have discouraged it."

"Such spying on a parliamentary party is an anathema to a democratic society."

ENDS

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