Tuesday, 9 September 2008

State Police

I confess I haven't followed the topic at all -- it seems to slipped under everyone's radar but Tim Selwyn's, who points out that the Police Bill which is about to be signed into law with near unanimous parliamentary support will make the independence of the police from the politicians something we will only be able to remember.  Notes Tim's co-blogger, it gives the Prime Minister of the day unregulated power to appoint the Police Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioners, while relegating the Police Minister under the Prime Minister.

    Meaning the Police are answerable to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister hires and fires those who run the policy, it is a closed relationship that does as my co-blogger points out “invites political manipulation, under-performance and ultimately corruption”.
    The exacerbating factor is that we are realigning accountability right when the Police are about to execute and mug the Serious Fraud Office of it’s existence and it’s 'no-right-to-silence' powers...

Ominous indeed.

There are of course those who are happy when their own team takes over the reins of power that powers like this are available to them, but even party supporters might like to reflect on some of the reasons we have restraints on executive power.  Perhaps they could condition their support by imagining it's their opponents who have all the reins in one hand.


  1. We can only hope that somehow National/ACT do win against the Maorimander/EFA/ERA/RNZ/TVNZ/rorts

    and when they do, they use to powers Labour have put in place to wipe our Labour and their Union mates!

  2. But I doubt it means the Prime Minister can 'order' the Police to arrest someone.

    If all it means is appointments it may well be a good move...getting rid of crony-ism, office politics and popularity contests regarding these appointments and perhaps next time someone 'suitable' may get the job/s.

  3. A political move is not synonymous with a good move.

    Who guards the guardians, etc ..

  4. But I doubt it means the Prime Minister can 'order' the Police to arrest someone.

    on the contrary - that is exactly what it means.

  5. Can you show me the part of the legislation which gives the Prime Minister those powers? ...the section which says "The Prime Minister may order the arrest of any citizen they dislike and the police will arrest them and lock them up and that will teach them a lesson" ?

  6. Oh...to save you the trouble...here is [section] 30 (4) of the legislation which specifically forbids political interference...

    (4) No Police employee may, when exercising any power or carrying out any function or duty, act under the direction, command, or control of—

    (a) a Minister of the Crown;

    (Conspiracy theorists can rest easy in their beds)

  7. Elijah, of course the law says that. But if the PM can appoint whoever he or she likes, they will undoubtedly appoint one of their friends, someone who will look favourably upon them and might arrange (for instance) to have that inconvenient blood test result 'lost' ... or the vital fingerprints 'accidentally wiped off' etc etc.

    If the PM appoints Police Ministers, presumably they also decide when to remove them ... thus providing another avenue of coercion (the police minister's job depends on doing what makes the PM happy).

  8. This is very concerning. At first it doesn't seem important, as elijah has pointed out. But when it comes on the top of all Labour has been doing up to now, it is a very worrying new piece in a very large puzzle. Rather than duplicating myself:

  9. Direction, command and control does not include advice, or following a friendly conversation.


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