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dove picturePMA newsletter - September 2000

Peace Movement Aotearoa

PO Box 9314, Wellington.

Tel (04) 382 8129,
fax (04) 382 8173,


The National Consultative Committee on Disarmament sponsored this mailing

Link to earlier PMA newsletters.


Summary of alerts with this mailing

Review of the Police Complaints Authority

Indecent haste on the Singapore Free Trade Agreement

The Roger Award

World March of Women 2000

PMA AGM 2000

New Zealand in the New Millenium : a conservation with ourselves

Angie Zelter's speaking tour

Waihopai Spybase protest

The Parihaka Exhibition

Don't miss the Peace Boat!

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:

next the Extension of the Nuclear Free Zone Bill
(submissions due by 2 October);

next the Review of the Police Complaints Authority
(submissions due as soon as possible);

next Singapore Free Trade Agreement (immediate action);

next '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 practice and in theory." The report is available at;

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.

Review Questions: 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 Act)?
(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, or go to

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 Last Dance 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

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, 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 ...

'INSPIRE' - 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 or contact Jen Margaret or Izzy Hallett c/o Peace Foundation, tel (09) 373 2379 or 021 110 0799.

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.

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