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Frontline Police betrayed by Government

Media Release

For Immediate Release 26 August 2008

Frontline Police betrayed by Government

The decision by the Government to backtrack on assurances that they would support the status quo, which allows police officers to serve their communities as local councillors, has left police officers angry and confused, Police Association President Greg O'Connor said today.

"At a time when police are feeling isolated from the communities they are recruited from and live in, this ideologically driven denial of democratic rights enjoyed by every other New Zealander, including public servants, just aggravates that feeling of isolation," Mr O'Connor said.

"Police have served on councils for many years without any issues arising, and have brought a pragmatic and highly ethical approach to decision-making.

"The Policing Bill went through more than two years of community consultation and development, and the Government policy after that process was that police should be able to serve on councils. Now it has decided at the eleventh hour, with no consultation, to reverse that policy and undermine the rights of every New Zealand police officer.

"This will be seen by police officers, their families and supporters as 'nanny state' deciding that frontline police officers should be seen and not heard," Mr O'Connor said.

"The grand-parenting clause which seeks to placate current serving councillors simply serves to highlight the hypocrisy of the decision.

"There does not appear to be any substantive reason whatsoever for the about-face other than a desire to satisfy New Zealand First. Police officers will be scanning the legislative and political environment for clues as to what can have been so important that the Government chose to sell them out," Mr O'Connor said.

ENDS

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