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Police behaviour reminiscent of Tūhoe Raids

Police behaviour reminiscent of Tūhoe Raids

Māori Party candidate for Te Tai Hauāuru, Chris McKenzie believes that an alleged incident involving police entering a marae and waking up children asleep in a wharenui in the middle of the night to question them regarding an assault in the area - reeks of the Tūhoe raids.

"Māori will lose further trust and confidence in the New Zealand Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) if the recent incident in Stratford is not adequately addressed. This behaviour would not occur in Epsom or Khandallah so why should police think that such behaviour was acceptable in Stratford," says Chris McKenzie.

According to newspaper reports police entered a Stratford marae and lined up children aged four to 17 at 2.30am last Saturday and photographed children in a bid to find an offender who had been involved in an assault. A marae spokesperson said the police were rude and aggressive despite the facilitators of the youth hui being cooperative with the police.

"I could understand the actions if there was sufficient evidence to indicate that a child staying at the marae was involved or if door to door searches were taking place of all residences in the area but it appears that this was not the case and the marae was targeted for little more reason than Māori people were staying there."

"Police need to be respected for the important job that they do but are not above the law and need to be held to account when their actions impinge on the rights of citizens. It would be disappointing if, as a result of the Tūhoe raids and the lack of action from the Independent Police Complaints Authority to provide adequate redress for the innocent parties, some police felt empowered to bend the law," says Mr McKenzie.

"It is of course ironic that on a day when questions are being raised as to whether the IPCA had acted appropriately in failing to investigate whether officers of the Government Communications Security Bureau had unlawfully intercepted private communications, that the issue of IPCA is again in the public arena."

The Māori Party believes that a review of the Independent Police Complaints Authority is warranted as any society must maintain a healthy respect for its police force and this faith is eroded by racial profiling or overly aggressive actions on innocent citizens.

Te Tai Hauāuru MP and Māori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia says society must be able to have faith in the police force but in turn, the police must act responsibly and reasonably and that includes building better relationships with whānau, hapū and iwi if they expect to win their trust.

"The victims of crime need to be assured that the police are leaving no stone unturned to seek justice but in doing so must not subject innocent people to injustice themselves. If police have little evidence apart from the fact that a group of Māori were staying at the marae then this is a disgraceful situation," says Tariana Turia.

ENDS

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