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Maori Party: IPCA recommendations too weak

Wednesday 22 May 2013 3:31 p.m.

MP Te Ururoa Flavell (file)

MP Te Ururoa Flavell (file)

The Maori Party wants the Search and Surveillance Act repealed and says the recommendations in the IPCA's report on the Ruatoki raids are weak.

MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the report states the obvious - that the road blocks were unlawful - and "grossly understates" the harm done by the raids.

"There is still a huge void in the area of accountability of the police in acknowledging the extent of the harm incurred," he said.

"No other citizen would be allowed to get away with such a lengthy list of improprieties when undertaking their core business."

Mr Flavell says the report is further evidence of the need to comprehensively review the justice system, which his party has previously called for.

"The report highlights how the Search and Surveillance Act has robbed the public of lawful protection against unlawful, unreasonable, unjustified and undesirable police actions and in light of this report's finding we call for it to be repealed."

The Green Party has "serious concerns" that racial discrimination played a part in the raids and says police should urgently overhaul their culture.

"Innocent people were illegally detained and searched... we are talking about a sleepy New Zealand town here, not Belfast at the height of the IRA bombings," said police spokesman David Clendon.

"The Tuhoe people deserve to know why police thought it was okay to descend like masked ninjas on a quiet little Maori community."

Mr Clendon says he has serious concerns that racial discrimination played a part in the raids.

"Would the police have raided Remuera in Auckland, or Khandallah in Wellington, in the same way? Little children left home alone while carers were dragged away by masked men?"

Labour's police spokesman, Kris Faafoi, says the IPCA's findings are of deep concern and the force must implement all the authority's recommendations.

"Innocent people were unnecessarily frightened and intimidated, and that is unacceptable," he said.

"It's vital that action is taken by the police to ensure this doesn't happen again."

NZN

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