Police want cover on tasers, not consultion
29 August 2008
Police want political cover on tasers, not consultation
With his bizarre media statement yesterday Police Commissioner Howard Broad confirmed the police don’t want consultation with MPs or anyone else over taser deployment. Instead they want political cover for an unpopular decision.
On Wednesday afternoon Minister of Police Annette King made a statement to parliament saying Police Commissioner Howard Broad had decided to arm police with tasers but he wanted MP approval before confirming the decision.
However there were no invitation to MPs to discuss the issue, no submissions sought and no meetings held.
Instead the police released, less than 24 hours later, a statement that Howard Broad listened to some parliamentary discussion, didn’t hear anything new and decided to confirm his decision.
Broad did not make a bold break with tradition to consult MPs we were told. With the Winston Peters saga occupying the media he saw the opportunity to withdraw quickly from any public scrutiny or public debate. Hence his rapid-fire decision after a 20 hour “consultation” with MPs over the airwaves.
At all times in the taser debate the police have sought to avoid public input and political scrutiny. The original decision to trial was made without prior consultation and the police refused, until just last week, to release wider information about the incidents in which tasers were deployed during the New Zealand trial. They did so only after Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem reported "Many of the summaries are extremely brief, and have the overall effect of sanitising the original reports."
Then after releasing the information, Broad closed down debate with his final decision before any of this new information could be independently scrutinised.
Don’t bother with the sham next time Howard. It’s an insult to everyone.