Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Mental Health Nurses Say No To Taser

Position Statement on Police proposal to introduce Taser stun guns into New Zealand


Tasers are battery operated units resembling hand guns that fire two barbed electrodes on 21 foot long copper wires at 180ft/sec. The barbs embed themselves in the victim’s skin and deliver up to 50,000 volts of electricity in rapid pulses over a period of five seconds. This causes uncontrollable muscle contraction and overwhelming pain. Repeated charges of electricity can be administered. In addition to pain from the electrical charge, people subject to Taser shocks are unable to stand and risk sustaining fall injuries. Adapted from Bleetman, Steyn & Lee, 2004


Te Ao Maramatanga (The New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses) Inc strongly opposes the introduction of Taser stun guns into New Zealand, as proposed by the Police. The most urgent concern for the College is that the current Police proposal specifically identifies “individuals in various states of mental health crisis” as a target for the use of Tasers. The College notes that this represents a change in emphasis from the statement made in the initial press release of February 8 which did not mention people in mental health crisis.

The College also questions the decision making process leading to this proposal, the consultation processes with groups likely to be affected, and the basis in evidence for the claim that the Taser is a necessary option for the Police.

Tasers were developed in the United States, where human rights groups report that their use has become routine part of law enforcement. In the United States and Canada, people with mental illness are amongst those subjected to Tasers. The College is deeply concerned at the inevitability that in New Zealand Tasers will become part of the Police response to mental health emergencies.

The College calls on:

  • the Commissioner for Police to urgently suspend this decision, and undertake a full review of the human rights, legal, and health implications of any decision to introduce Tasers.
  • The Minister of Health to call for urgent consultation with the Police to address the implications of this decision for people experiencing mental health crises
  • Parliament to debate the legality and necessity for this measure.
  • Reference: Bleetman, A., Steyn, R. & Lee, C. (2004). Introduction of the Taser into British policing. Implications for UK emergency departments: an overview of electronic weaponry. Emergency Medicine Journal 21, 136-140.

    Te Ao Maramatanga New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses Inc Partnership, Voice, Excellence in Mental Health Nursing

    © Scoop Media

    Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

    Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

    There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

    Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

    Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


    Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


    Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

    New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


    Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

    “We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


    Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

    The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


    Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

    Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


    Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

    An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


    Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

    The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


    Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

    New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




    Featured InfoPages

    Opening the Election