Peace Movement Aotearoa   |   Human Rights Foundation

The NZ police and stun guns
Should police officers be armed with taser weapons?

CATT report: Stun guns in Aotearoa New Zealand? The shocking trial

Scroll down this page for media releases, reports and resources about tasers

Use of tasers on people with mental illness: A New Zealand database study
Anthony J. O'Brien, Brian G McKenna, Katey Thom, Kate Diesfeld,
and Alexander I.F. Simpson, December 2010

Campaign Against the Taser archive:

On 10 December 2008, Human Rights Day, NZ Police Taser Project Manager Superintendent John Rivers, announced that the police had begun the reintroduction of tasers to the police districts involved in the taser trial in 2006/07 - read the Campaign Against the Taser's response.

On 27 August 2008, Police Minister Annette King made a statement in parliament that the Police Commissioner, Howard Broad had made an "in-principle" decision on the deployment of the taser as part of the police arsenal. Following a brief discussion in parliament, on 28 August the Commissioner announced that "nothing new had emerged in the debate so he saw no need delay their introduction".

  • Campaign Against the Taser calls for Police to release "sanitised" taser information, and to delay taser deployment decision, 6 June 2008

  • Act now: taser gun decision due soon, Peace Movement Aotearoa, 20 December 2007
  • Stun guns in Aotearoa New Zealand? The shocking trial A report on the New Zealand Police taser trial, 1 September 2006 - 1 September 2007, Campaign Against the Taser, December 2007

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    The Campaign Against The Taser

    The taser stun gun trial

    Comment on the death of Steven Wallace being used to justify the introduction of taser guns

      We are deeply concerned that some public commentators are using the police shooting of Steven Wallace in Waitara on 30 April 2000 to support the introduction of taser guns.

      Those who use this argument appear to be unaware that Steven would not have been killed if police procedure regarding the use of lethal force had been followed correctly.

      There were other ways that situation could have been handled: there were after all three police officers at the scene, they had batons and pepper spray, and a police canine unit was on its way. What should have been the final option - the use of firearms against someone who did not have a distance weapon - appears to have been the first and only option considered that night.

      The failure to follow procedure in Steven's case, and in other situations involving police use of firearms and pepper spray, highlights one of the most compelling reasons for not issuing tasers to NZ police officers - there is no guarantee that this potentially lethal weapon will be used only as a last resort when all other less extreme options have been explored.

      Furthermore, the argument that the use of a taser on Steven would not have resulted in his death has limited validity as that is something which cannot be established now. The use of a taser could have killed him just as surely as the bullets did - the number of fatalities caused by police use of tasers in other countries is another of the compelling reasons why tasers should not be introduced here. Peace Movement Aotearoa

    Media releases and statements

    Media reports

    Reports, commentary, and other resources

    Campaign Against The Taser public meetings and protests in 2006

    • Thursday, 7 September - Do you want to be shocked? Come and learn about Police plans to introduce the electric shock weapon 'the taser' into front line policing in New Zealand. A variety of presentations including from Green MP Keith Locke and NZ Police Superintendent John Rivers (Project Manager for the taser trial), chaired by Mike Yardley; 7.30pm, Hurst Seager Room, The Christchurch Arts Centre (entry from Hereford Street, Rolleston Avenue end), all welcome. For more information contact Grace Taylor, Green MP's Christchurch Office, tel (03) 365 5693 or Graeme Dunstall, Canterbury Council for Civil Liberties, tel (03) 342 9785. A printable poster is available here.
    • Thursday, 31 August - Community meeting about the taser gun pilot in Porirua - taser guns are 50,000 volt stun-guns that Police will use in their policing operations; with speakers Gareth Seymour from P.A.T.U.A (Porirua Against Taser Use Anywhere), other speakers to be confirmed from the police and a medical expert. Starts 6pm, at Pataka Spine (corridor), Norrie Street, Porirua; for more information please contact Taima Fagaloa (04) 237 0093.
    • Thursday, 31 August - Stop the taser gun trial, rally at parliament at 1pm with speakers Keith Locke, Green Party Police Spokesperson, and Hone Harawira, Maori Party.
    • Saturday, 19 August - Stop the taser! March against the NZ police trial of tasers, midday from bottom of Queen Street; a printable poster is available here. Organised by the Campaign Against The Taser, for more information go to this web site or email.
    • Tuesday, 15 August - Campaign Against The Taser public meeting in Wellington. In September, the New Zealand police intend to 'trial' taser stun guns, initially in Auckland and Wellington. The government has supported this move without any public consultation, yet it has the potential to dramatically change the relationship between the police and the community. Tasers have been tested and trialed overseas, and found to be lethal. More than 180 people have died after being tasered in the US. A federal investigation into taser-related deaths has begun there and yet the New Zealand government intends to press ahead before the results of that investigation are known. Come along and find out more. Speakers include - Sharon Clair, Vice President Maori, CTU, and NZ Nurses Organisation - Ruth Harrison, Chair Commissioner, Mental Health Commission - Michael Bott, Human rights barrister; Chairman, Council for Civil Liberties - Edwina Hughes, Coordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa - John Minto, Campaign Against The Taser. Contact for this meeting: Peace Movement Aotearoa, tel (04) 382 8129 or email. A printable poster is available here.
    • Wednesday, 2 August - P.A.T.U.A. (Porirua Against Taser Use Anywhere) public meeting: tasers are stun guns with 50,000 volt charges. The police are going to start using them in a Ďtrialí in Wellington in September. Tasers can kill people in the Ďrightí circumstances.í Evidence from overseas, including from Amnesty International, says that stun guns have been involved in over 180 deaths in the US. The NZ Police have done no independent research into the danger of tasers. Look at the mis use of pepper spray - our community should be worried. Tasers will be used by frontline staff, not just the highly trained violent offenders squad. And it is Maori and Pacific youth who are most at risk. The cost of this 12 month trial is just $143,000. We are worried that tasers are being bought low cost from the US makers, with plans to buy more. This NZ taser trial must be cancelled. A new group (P.A.T.U.A.) is forming in Porirua to oppose tasers, and to stop them from coming into our town. Come to our meeting and see what we can do if all our peoples work together; 6pm at Te Puna Ora, 26 Ngati Toa Street, Takapuwahia. Please contact email or 021 0236 1970 if you have any questions about this kaupapa.

    • Public meeting to launch opposition to police taser trial, Auckland, 6 June 2006

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