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Lack of Remorse from Police Won't Restore Tūhoe Relationship

Te Ururoa Flavell
MP for Waiariki

23rd May 2013

Lack of Genuine Remorse from Police Will Not Restore Tūhoe Relationship

Waiariki MP, Te Ururoa Flavell, has continued his call for accountability in the wake of the damning IPCA report into Operation Eight.

“The Authority found there was no lawful basis for the roadblocks at Taneatua and Ruātoki; there was no lawful power or justification for Police to detain, stop and search the vehicles, take personal details or photograph the drivers and passengers,” reiterated Te Ururoa Flavell.

“This was a massive operation, involving over 300 officers at numerous locations, requiring millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to enable the raids to proceed.”

“Labour knew about this – and still allowed the attacks to proceed. We hold former PM Helen Clark and Police Minister Annette King directly responsible for Operation Eight – as well as the associated introduction and passage of a huge raft of anti-terrorism legislation including the Search and Surveillance Act.”

“The former Chair, Judge Lowell Goddard, and current Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers, have done a thorough job of highlighting multiple findings in which Police policy, procedures and actions were unlawful, unreasonable, unjustified and undesirable. Quite frankly it’s appalling,” said Te Ururoa. “Yet Police Commissioner Peter Marshall has the gall to say ‘without making any excuses, it’s important to remember the context.’”

“Fine words – if only the Police had followed them,” said Te Ururoa. “The IPCA report concludes that the Police under-estimated the focus on Ruātoki and Tūhoe that occurred and that the Police should have more fully taken into account the historical and cultural context before planning an operation into this area.”

“It also reports that in the years since the raids there has been no meaningful, effective, or sustained engagement with Tūhoe despite the Authority concluding there is a distinct lack of trust and confidence by Tūhoe in the police.”

“It begs the question – why have Iwi Liaison Officers if operation commanders can’t trust them to gain insight into the whānau, hapū and iwi concerned? No wonder the police were surprised by the reaction they got from the community or the media.

“Mr Marshall’s muffled apology that ‘it was most unfortunate for the community in the Ruātoki Valley’ and ‘Police failed to meet expected standards’ goes nowhere near the type of accountability and genuine remorse that the people of my constituency are looking for.”

“The kuia and koroua of Tūhoe have impressed on me that the harm done to their people in October 2007 and the subsequent protracted events following, have done enormous damage not just to this generation, but for generations to come.”

“The Māori Party is asking all the key stakeholders in this tragic case – including current Police Minister Tolley – to take a serious and considered approach to how amends can be made – and to do that soon.”

ENDS

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