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Unions Slam Taser Trial

Press Release: National Distribution Union

Friday, 18 August, 9.00am

Unions Slam Taser Trial

Unions are joining community groups and famous New Zealanders in calling for an immediate halt to the Police's Taser trial in September, says the National Distribution Union.

Unions are calling for the cancellation of the Taser trial unless an in-depth and independent inquiry into the Taser (including the 180 North American deaths involving Tasers) can assure the public of the 50,000volt stun-guns safety.

National Distribution Union National Secretary Laila Harré said that there were as many questions surrounding the safety of the Taser as why public debate has been left to the Police's public relations department to manage growing community concerns about the weapon.

"We have been led to believe that the Taser is a "less-than-lethal" alternative to a gun, when the truth of the matter is that police are not introducing the Taser as a substitute to lethal force at all," she said. "The Police want to use the Taser as a "more lethal" option than pepper spray and batons in situations that wouldn't otherwise call for lethal force. What we are seeing is the arming of the New Zealand Police by deception."

Ms Harré said that Police Minister Annette King had twice refused to meet with a delegation from Campaign Against The Taser.com and had washed her hands of the issue.

"Police Minister Annette King has substituted the Police's public relations department for much need public debate," she said. "Refusing to make the Government responsible for the introduction of the Taser won't protect it from responsibility when a member of the public dies or are seriously injured by the 50,000 volt Taser stun-gun. The Government won't be able to simply blame the Police," she said.

Ms Harré will be speaking on behalf of unions at tomorrow's 12 noon march, starting at the bottom of Queen St.

Unions opposing the Taser include the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, the Clothing, Laundry and Allied Workers Union, the Maritime Union New Zealand, Unite Union, the Postal Workers Association and the National Distribution Union.

ENDS

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