New Zealand: Labour-led government to expand police


New Zealand: Labour-led government to expand police

Chris Ross and John Braddock

6 December 2017

After taking office on October 26, the new Labour Party-led New Zealand government, which includes the anti-immigrant NZ First Party and the Greens, has quickly moved to strengthen police and their powers.

As part of the coalition deal between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and NZ First leader Winston Peters, 1,800 new officers are to be recruited. This is a 20 percent increase on the 2016 figure of 9,004 police, in a country of just 4.7 million people. Peters also wants to establish an elite flying squad to target “rampant outbreaks of lawlessness and organised crime.”

NZ First has repeatedly attacked Labour and the former National government for not being tough on crime. Its law-and-order proposals include making minors as young as 12 years old “criminally responsible” for their actions and expanding military-run “boot camps” for young offenders.

Last week, the New Zealand media widely promoted a new police recruitment video. Newshub praised it, declaring that key themes in police recruitment were “empathy and community.”

However, a recent investigative report by Fairfax Media entitled “Under Fire: Why are more people being shot by cops?” highlighted the extraordinary powers of the police and their disregard for human life.

The report revealed that police shot more people in the past 10 years than the previous 40. Over the last decade, 16 people have been killed by police, compared with a total of 31 since 1941. Since 2015, 14 people have been shot, eight fatally.

By contrast, in the United Kingdom, which has a population 13 times the size, police have fatally shot 22 people in the past 10 years. In every single case, New Zealand police officers have…

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