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Tight security for visiting Australian PM

News Release, 20:35, 7 March 2003
Wellington Police is mounting a tight security operation around the visit of Australian Prime Minister John Howard to the capital.

Mr Howard arrives in Wellington on Sunday for a two-day Government visit.

"The police approach is geared to meeting the safety needs of both Mr Howard and the general public," Superintendent John Kelly, Wellington Police District Commander said today.

"Peace marches are expected, particularly at Parliament on Monday, and this is reflected in our planning. Similar marches in the past have been largely well organised by the various groups and police would expect a similar level of cooperation and understanding during Mr Howard’s visit.

"People have the right to protest as long as they do so peacefully and without putting others at risk."

Mr Kelly said the security steps being taken are appropriate given the current global situation and the international profile of Mr Howard. More than 200 officers will be involved in the two-day operation, drawn from stations across the Wellington District including general duties, specialist search and traffic staff.

The police operation is one of the largest in Wellington in recent years, and ranks with the State visits following CHOGM and APEC, Royal tours and last year’s visit by Tiger Woods to the New Zealand Golf Open.

"Our role is to ensure the safety of the public, Mr Howard and his entourage," Mr Kelly said. "We’re doing everything possible to ensure the visit runs smoothly and safely for everyone."


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