Open letter to Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Open letter to Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
Tena koe Prime Minister Ardern,
Further concerns regarding risks to safety and wellbeing at Ihumātao secondary to escalating actions by the New Zealand Police including the carrying of firearms
We wrote to you on 31 July 2019 regarding our concerns for the safety and wellbeing of peaceful protectors at Ihumātao. These concerns have been vindicated with recent reports of police with firearms at the Ihumātao site. In addition to being aware that police have firearms at Ihumātao, you will also be aware that police initially publicly denied this. Following being exposed on film, police then conceded in a media statement, “we have armed response capability available in the event of an emergency”.
Common sense tells us that no-one will be shot if there are no firearms present. History tells us that a young Māori male ‘with a weapon acting aggressively’, for instance, performing a haka with a taiaha, who advances on a police position runs a reasonable chance of being shot by police. The relationship between police and peaceful protectors is reportedly at a low with increased police numbers used on Sunday to prevent a karakia ceremony at a sacred maunga site, and further escalation of intimidating police actions on Monday evening.
The potential for violence, and now lethal violence, no longer seems insubstantial. You have announced that you will not allow building on the Ihumātao site whilst the Government tries to ‘broker a solution’. Thus, we again urge you as Prime Minister of Aotearoa/New Zealand to withdraw the police from Ihumātao in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of all children and adults involved from any risk of violence.
Dr Paula King
Dr Rhys Jones
Associate Professor Ricci Harris
Associate Professor Elana Curtis
Professor Papaarangi Reid
Associate Professor Sue Crengle
Dr Nina Scott
Dr Kēri Rātima
Professor David Tipene-Leach
Dr Tania Riddell
Associate Professor Joanne Baxter