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Police Stasi tactics undermine democracy

14 December 2008

Police Stasi tactics towards protestors undermine democracy: Greens

Green MP Keith Locke is calling for an inquiry into the Police Special Investigation Group following evidence it is planting paid informants in legitimate protest groups.

This morning the Sunday Star-Times carried details of activities of a Police informer who infiltrated and spied upon Greenpeace and groups active on animal rights, climate change and peace issues. The informer was operating under the instructions of the Police Special Investigation Group.


"Such Stasi tactics are unacceptable in New Zealand," said Mr Locke, the Green Party's Police spokesperson.

"Peace and environmental protesters are the conscience of society, not enemies of the state.

"The Police should not be infiltrating such groups, spying on their every activity, and creating distrust between their members.

"It also means that scarce Police resources are being diverted away from combating the really dangerous people - such as those in the criminal gangs.

"It is true that some activist groups, such as Greenpeace, occasionally engage in actions which technically breach the law, but they are not engaged in violent protest.

"A few technically illegal protest actions do not justify the Police treating these groups as the enemy, sending in their agents, and trying to undermine them.

"Non-violent civil disobedience has a long and honorable tradition in New Zealand, from Te Whiti to the 1980s anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid protests to today's anti-whaling actions.

"The Greens are also worried that such covert operations against protest groups also undermine the constitutional political neutrality of Police force, and the respect the community has for it.

"Democracy requires the active participation of the citizenry, and it is very dangerous for our Police force to be targeting the groups most active on peace, environmental protection and animal welfare issues.

"We will be approaching the new Police Minister Judith Collins, asking for an inquiry into the covert political operations of the Special Investigation Group. We will also be raising the matter in Parliament."

ENDS

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