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PMA newsletter - September 2000
Kia ora, this mailing takes the place of our newsletter, which would have been with
you some weeks ago, were it not for an unfortunate accident. The newsletter will
be published in late October, but in the meantime, this mailing is to bring a number
of urgent matters to your attention. These are:
the Extension of the Nuclear Free Zone Bill
(submissions due by 2 October);
the Review of the Police Complaints Authority
(submissions due as soon as possible);
Singapore Free Trade Agreement (immediate action);
'Saying NO to militarism and war'
(start planning for 17 October) ... and more !
If you (or your group) has access to email, are not already on our email lists, and
wish to be kept up to date, we strongly urge you to send us your email address.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this mailing.
Review of the Police Complaints Authority
In June, Phil Goff announced a review of the Police Complaint Authority's structure
and the manner in which it conducts its operations as follows: "Two key questions
we will be asking are: i) 'Should the Authority have an independent investigative
capacity for serious complaints and incidents', and ii) 'To what degree should the function
of the Authority be carried out in private and in secrecy'?"
The purpose of the Review
is: "To review the role of the Police Complaints Authority in investigating and resolving
complaints and incidents concerning the Police. The review will not re-examine any
particular case investigated by the Authority."
Terms of Reference (ToR)
: "To review the performance of the Police Complaints Authority in the twelve years
since the passage of the Police Complaints Authority Act 1988 (the Act), and to report
to the Minister of Justice by 31 October 2000, having particular regard to: (a) The
Authority's strengths and achievements; (b) Any weaknesses that may exist in the
Authority's structure, legislative mandate or performance; (c) The relationship of the
Authority to Ministers, the Police, and the three branches of government generally;
(d) Whether any improvements could be made, and if so, what."
Then follows a long list of questions (copied at the end of this alert) which looks
very impressive - however, asking lots of questions does not necessarily mean a proper
review will be carried out.
Phil Goff when announcing the Review said "In holding a review, I want to make it
clear that this is not an expression of any dissatisfaction whatsoever with the Authority's
track record. Neither should this process in any way be seen as having a bearing
on the conduct of the Waitara investigation or the validity of its eventual outcome."
(21 June 2000). Announcing a Review in such a manner gives some reason to doubt that
it is anything other than a public relations exercise.
Further, there is an immediately obvious basic flaw in the ToR "the review will not
re-examine any particular case investigated by the Authority." It is extremely difficult
to see how a full and proper review can be carried out without looking into specific cases which illustrate whether or not the PCA is effective.
Among the examples of PCA investigations which have reached unsatisfactory conclusions,
the High Court ruling in David Small's case earlier this year is one of the clearest
indications of PCA ineffectiveness.
On 9 May Justice Young's decision was released in respect of the the court case David
Small had taken against the police for the search of his home in 1996. Both the PCA
and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security had investigated the break-in,
neither found any basis to the complaint. Justice Young on the other hand concluded
that the search was unjustified 'political harassment' and awarded David Small $20,000
compensation. As to the extent of the PCA's investigation of this complaint, only
one of the eight police officers who gave evidence in the hearing of this case confirmed
that he had been interviewed during the PCA investigation.
Without an examination of 'particular cases' such as that, how can the Review possibly
reach any decision on whether or not the PCA delivers justice ?
There is considerable public distrust in the ability of the PCA to do anything other
than defend the actions of those police officers against whom complaints have been
made. This has been readily apparent in the reaction to the police shooting of Steven
Wallace on 30 April. With the ruling in David Small's case coming so soon after the
shooting, the fact that the PCA could not properly investigate his complaint nor
find any grounds for concern in that instance (a comparatively trivial incident when
compared to the taking of a human life), then the belief that they will do no better in investigating
the shooting of Steven Wallace appears well-founded.
The Public Issues Committee of the Auckland District Law Society issued a paper in
June 2000 on the need for reform of the way the PCA carries out its investigations
into police actions. Among other points, they make the following: that there is dissatisfaction with a procedure that involves police officers investigating other police officers;
that there is reason for concern in the way evidence is collected by the PCA, that
is, by police officers under the supervision of the PCA; that this may influence
both the evidence gathered (sub-consciously or consciously) and what is reported back;
that individuals working within any organisation may always be influenced by the
self-interest of the organisation; and that police careers may depend on the outcome
of an inquiry so personal self-interest may also be involved.
They conclude that it is vital the public have confidence in the PCA, that an enquiry
cannot be perceived as totally independent where one police officer investigates
another, and that ... "the PCA should be given the resources to enable it to function
as a truly independent body both in
and in theory." The report is available at http://www.adls.org.nz/media/pcaprec.html;
Further, PCA investigations take a considerable length of time, sometimes many months
- this is clearly unacceptable in situations where people are grieving and angry
over serious injury or the loss of a life. The length of time an investigation takes
does not necessarily indicate it has been thorough.
Another point of concern is the total secrecy of PCA investigations - "Every investigation
by the Authority under this Act shall be conducted in private" (PCA Act, 1988, 23.2).
Except in proceedings for perjury, no statement or evidence given to the PCA can be later used in any court case (25.4). As with the legislation 'controlling' the
SIS, there is provision for non-disclosure of 'certain matters' ... if the Prime
Minster or Attorney General of the day says they shouldn't be disclosed. None of
these provisions seems entirely appropriate for a 'democratic' society.
Moana Jackson, in his analysis of the police report into the shooting of Steven Wallace,
includes some comments on the PCA and makes three specific recommendations: "It is
therefore contemplated that this new regime would incorporate three changes: a) the
removal of the right of the police to conduct their own investigation into any death
caused by the action or inaction of a police officer; b) the restructuring of a PCA
as a truly independent body resourced to undertake both substantive investigations
as well as its current policy enquiries; c) the establishment of an autonomous Mäori investigative
branch as part of the new PCA to review Mäori complaints against, and Mäori relationships
with, the police" (Part 4.7.1). He points out that a PCA with a broader investigative role would in turn need a review or appeal body to consider its activities.
The police view of the PCA has been summarised by Greg O'Connor (Police Association President) who said that after initially opposing a civilian oversight body, police
officers now accept it. On the matter of a truly independent PCA he said "If we are
interviewing one of our own, we treat them in the same way as we treat anyone else". If
you found that statement somewhat unbelievable, how about this? "I seriously believe
that a completely independent body coming in from outside that was not police would
find it very, very difficult to penetrate the wall of silence that many people believe
exists now." (NZ Herald, 13-05-00). Perhaps Phil Goff's next review should be of
police attitudes and their apparent siege mentality - not only in the public interest,
but also for the benefit of police officers themselves.
What you can do
Write a submission with your thoughts on the future of the PCA, what is necessary
for it to provide genuinely independent oversight of the police force, and how it could be improved so the public
can have confidence it will deliver justice to those who have been wronged by the
actions of police officers. Post your submission to Hon Justice Sir Rodney Gallen,
c/o Phil Goff, Minister of Justice, Parliament Buildings, Wellington (no stamp required);
or fax to Justice Gallen, c/o Phil Goff's office - (04) 495 8444.
In the course of making this assessment and making his recommendations the reviewer
will be required to examine and report on the following questions:
(a) Has the Authority
achieved its statutory objectives (with particular reference to section 12 of the
(b) How do the statutory objectives stand up in light of experience? (c) How
is the division of responsibilities for investigating matters allocated between the
Commissioner of Police and the Authority?
(d) How efficient has the Authority been
in using its resources?
(e) How effective has the Authority been in dealing with complaints
which arise from or are related to police policies, procedures or general practices?
(f) How effective has the system of using Police to conduct investigations been?
This should include consideration of the police investigators' ability to access information
and familiarity with police structure and practice.
(g) What safeguards against possible
bias are built into the investigation process and how effectively have they operated?
(h) Should the Authority have an independent investigative capacity for serious
complaints and incidents, and how might that operate, including consideration of
potential financial implications?
(i) To what degree should the function of the Authority be carried out in private and in secrecy, and what degree of transparency is advisable
in the Authority's operations?
(j) Should the Authority have the power to initiate
a prosecution of a police officer?
(k) What skills, experience, and qualifications
would be desirable in the officers and employees of the Authority?
(l) Whether any
amendments should be proposed to the role of the Authority?
(m) What improvements,
if any, could be made to the structure, processes and position of the Authority within
the three branches of the New Zealand Government?
(n) How accessible has the Authority
been to the public in reality, and how accessible is it perceived to be by the public?
Indecent haste on the Singapore Free Trade Agreement
Singapore and New Zealand officials have completed negotiations on a bilateral 'closer
economic partnership' free trade and investment agreement. With APEC in virtual paralysis
and attempts to launch a new round of global trade talks at the WTO unsuccessful, the government wants to quietly stitch up free trade and investment deals bilaterally.
Former chief trade negotiator, Tim Groser, says, "the Singapore/NZ FTA is a Trojan
Horse for the real negotiating end-game: a possible new trade bloc encompassing all of South East Asia and Australia and NZ".
Despite mounting criticism, the agreement's text remained secret until 11 September
when a copy of this 190-page document was tabled in Parliament and posted on the
Government website. During the MAI campaign we had draft
texts of the agreement so we could ask detailed questions and pose concrete scenarios about
its implications. Eventually, the National Government, under pressure, was forced
to release the draft text, Cabinet papers and official documents about the MAI while
negotiations were still happening. This time, without the text of the Singapore agreement
we were forced into shadow-boxing with government over specific concerns we had about
the agreement's implications.
This new agreement will require NZ's central and local government to treat Singaporean
products, service providers and investors as well, or better than our own. All products
of Singapore are required to receive at least equal treatment in all government procurement tenders valued at $125,000 or more. MAI-style investment commitments lock
the present almost completely unrestricted investment regime into an enforceable
international agreement for the first time. The agreement locks in the levels of
zero tariffs, market-driven service regimes (like education, health, water, and broadcasting)
and many of the free-market policies of the past 16 years.
Now the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee is allowing only 9 days
(with a possible week's extension if you ask nicely before 25 September) for public
submissions on the agreement. The Select Committee report on the inquiry into the
agreement will be tabled by 19 October. There is no justification for this indecent haste
- apart from shutting down further debate - the agreement is not due to take effect
until January 1, 2001. This farcical process sets a dangerous precedent for future
international deals which New Zealand may enter into, like the proposed CER/ASEAN agreement.
The time to act is NOW! Write letters to the editor, ring talk back. Contact your
local MP and Clerk of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee (David
Sanders, at Parliament Buildings, Wellington) and complain about the outrageously
tight time frame for this inquiry. Aziz Choudry.
For more information, contact GATT Watchdog at PO Box 1905, Christchurch, Ph (03)
366 2803 or email ; Information on the Singapore Free trade
Agreement is uploaded regularly to our website.
The Roger Award - for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa / NZ in 2000
Since 1997, the transnational corporation judged to have operated in the worst manner in NZ over
the past year is given the dubious honour of winning the award. Previous winners
have been Tranz Rail, Monsanto and Trans Alta.
The criteria for judging is: the transnational that has the most negative impact in
each or all of the following fields - unemployment, monopoly, profiteering, abuse
of workers / conditions, political interference, environmental damage, cultural imperialism, impact on tangata whenua, running an ideological crusade, impact on women, health
and safety of workers and the public.
The closing date for The Roger Award is 31 October. For more info, contact The Roger
Award, Box 1905, Christchurch, fax (03) 366 3988, email@example.com or go to http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/rog2000n.
This year's Roger Award is organised by CAFCA and GATT Watchdog, and will be presented
in Wellington in February 2001.
World March of Women 2000
The international campaign calling for an end to poverty and violence against women,
involving women from more than 143 countries. You can get
World March of Women 2000
postcards by sending your name and
address, and the number of postcards you want to WMW, WILPF, PO Box 47-189, Auckland
(a donation to help with the cost of producing the postcards would be nice, cheque
payable to WILPF).
PMA AGM 2000
All PMA members are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting which will be held
on Saturday 4 November, in the Ernie Abbott Room, Trades Hall, 126 Vivian Street,
Wellington from 1pm to 4pm.
The Agenda will be: Introductions and apologies; Minutes of 1999 SGM and matters arising;
Presentation of 1999/2000 Annual report; Presentation of Accounts for the 1999/2000
Financial Year; Election of Working Group, Treasurer, Secretary and Auditor; General Business.
Call for nominations to the PMA Working Group (the Management Committee of PMA): Working
Group people must be members of PMA; they should have a keen interest in peace issues,
a professional approach, dedication to the work and future of PMA, and a commitment to good employment practices and procedures.
Nominations to the Working Group (on the form available on request from the office)
and any matters to be discussed under General Business should be received at the
PMA office no later than Friday 20 October 2000.
New Zealand in the New Millennium: A conversation with ourselves
Ian Fraser, Terence O'Brien, Chris Laidlaw, Gaylene Preston, George Salmond, Laurence
O'Reilly, Alan Brunton and Ann Evans speak their thoughts on 'NZ in the New Millennium'.
This is the publication from the IPPNW event of the same name held in Wellington
in October 1999 - it includes Alan's poem
and various comments from the audience.
A thought provoking magazine with a truly amazing cover - a real bargain at only $5
each (inc P&P)! Get yours now from IPPNW, c/o Dept of Public Health, Wellington School
of Medicine, PO Box 7343, Wellington South.
Angie Zelter's speaking tour
Angie's visit is now tentatively scheduled to take place from 7 to 28 January 2001. Angie has much experience of non-violent direct action against militarism, nuclear
weapons, and environmental degradation. From blockades at Greenham Common, through
ethical shoplifting, Snowball campaigns, to trespasses at military bases, and Women's
Ploughshares actions such as the disarming of a Hawk warplane bound for Indonesia and
those against Britain's nuclear-armed submarines ... she has used international law
to successfully defend her actions.
You have the opportunity to hear her story and thoughts on 'People's empowerment through nonviolent direct action - peace and environment', or
'The illegality of British nuclear defence policy and the undermining of international
law', or more generally to discuss "finding creative ways of resisting unethical and unsustainable practices
and lifestyles and finding ways of empowering ordinary people to confront the decision
makers as fellow global citizens and to find joint solutions to our common problems"
We need to confirm Angie's travel arrangements by 30 September - to do that we need
you to contact us and tell us if you, or your group, can contribute to her travel
costs. You do not need to hand over any money now, we are seeking pledges of support.
Please get in touch with the PMA office as soon as possible if you can help.
Waihopai Spybase protest
20 to 21 January 2001
Advance notice of the 2001 protest camp, mark the date in your diary now and look
forward to many exciting activities - including 'Angie Zelter at Waihopai'! (see
above). More details in the next newsletter, or you can get a booking form from the
Anti Bases Campaign, PO Box 2258, Christchurch firstname.lastname@example.org
The Parihaka Exhibition
Not to be missed if you live in or are visiting Wellington, ongoing to January 2001 at the City Gallery (Civic Square), the collaborative project
initiated by the City Gallery and the people of Parihaka Pä, Taranaki. Essential
viewing for anyone who wants further insight into the impact of colonisation and
peaceful resistance to it. A programme of free public events is associated with the exhibition,
you can get a copy from the City Gallery, PO Box 2199, Wellington, http://www.parihaka.city-gallery.org.nz or PMA (post or fax).
Don't miss the Peace Boat!
on its first visit to Aotearoa, the Peace Boat arrives in Auckland on 27 September
on its way from the Philippines, East Timor and Australia. To celebrate its arrival, at lunch time there will be an arts project in QEII Square
with people drawing their hand prints and writing about what peace means to them
on sail cloth from the Rainbow Warrior; followed by ...
- a multi media event for peace!
8-30pm at the Mandalay, to celebrate Peace Boat's visit, the International Year for
a Culture of Peace, and the things that young people can do to make a difference.
For more information, check out http://www.peace.net.nz or contact Jen Margaret or Izzy Hallett c/o Peace Foundation, tel (09) 373 2379 or 021
Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of all PMA members or
the Working Group.
COPYRIGHT Peace Movement Aotearoa 2000. Permission is given for written material to be used
by groups and individuals sharing our aims and objectives - please credit sourced
material to its original source, unsourced material to PMA.
Link to earlier PMA newsletters.
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