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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, April 06, 2007

Planned police code of conduct "bullshit"

Former New Zealand First MP and former Gisborne police commander Rana Waitai says a code of conduct called for in a damning report on police behaviour is unnecessary.

The report by Dame Margaret Bazley said 141 of the 313 complaints of sexual assault she heard merited criminal charges or other disciplinary action.

The Government said it would implement all the report's 60 recommendations, including a code of conduct for all staff.

Mr Waitai says police already had rules to work by.

“You don't need a code of conduct in the police because you’ve got very very tight police general instructions, and you know exactly how to behave. Code of conduct is a bullshit bloody charter. You find them everywhere. You find them in hospitals. No one takes any notice of the damn things,” Mr Waitai says.

He says the report reads as if it was sanitised to deliver the recommendations the government was willing to go along with.

MPS AT ODDS OVER ITI GUN CHARGE

ACT leader Rodney Hide says the Court of Appeal's ruling in favour of Tuhoe activist Tame Iti sends a strange message to the public about the use of firearms.

The court quashed two convictions, because it said the prosecution failed to prove Mr Iti intended harm when he fired a shotgun during a welcome in Ruatoki for the Waitangi Tribunal in 2005.

Mr Hide says the original conviction seemed clear cut.

“When you look at the footage on television you say this was a dangerous act in a public place, and you would expect it to be against the law, and we’re also conscious too that law abiding firearm owners are getting had up all the time, sometime when they’re defending themselves, sometimes when they’re just being hassled,” Hide says.

But Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the court came to the right decision.

“Tame followed a process in law, Pakeha law from their perspective, His case was found to be ok and he was able to get off, so good on him,” Mr Flavell says.

He sees the decision as showing respect for the exercise of Maori tikanga on the marae.

WHAKATANE TURNS IT ON FOR 28 BATTALION VETS

The organiser of this weekend's reunion for the 38 surviving members of the 28 Maori Battalion says the hui is a chance to celebrate their history.

B Company veterans and their whanau welcomed their fellow soldiers to Te Hokowhitu-a-Tumatauenga Marae in Whakatane today.

Hemana Waaka says up to 500 people are expected to attend over the next three days.

Mr Waaka says with numbers of veterans dropping, every opportunity is precious to celebrate their contribution.

“Everything is being portrayed to reflect the few that are left, and it is just a bonus that the other people have come in who wi9ll be the supporters from the different theatres of war, but more important for us will be the veterans and the widows of those vets,” Mr Waaka says.

The veterans will take part in a parade at the Whakatane war memorial hall on Sunday.

BAZLEY REPORT HAS SANITISED SMELL

A long serving policeman turned politician believes the Bazley Report on police conduct was doctored to fit in with a previously agreed Government agenda.

Rana Waitai, who rose to head the Gisborne police district before entering Parliament as a New Zealand First MP, is now a lawyer based in Wanganui.

In her report, Dame Margaret Bazley said 141 of the 313 complaints of sexual assault by officers she reviewed contained enough evidence for criminal or disciplinary action

She made 60 recommendations, including a code of conduct, bringing in a new police discipline system and flagging officers behaving inappropriately.

Mr Waitai says the report pulls its punches.

“I think there was a stronger report than the one that is around at the moment, which named people. I think the government got hold of the report and sanitized the damn thing. I think the best thing we’d be looking at now would be a sanitised report of those things that the government is happy to implement,” Mr Waitai says.

He says the proposed code of conduct is unnecessary, because police officers should know how to behave.

TUHOE READIES TO WELCOME WHANAU HOME

This weekend's four day Tuhoe Festival at Ruatoki is a chance for the majority of the iwi living outside the rohe to come home.

Organiser Haaromi Williams says up to 15 thousand people are expected at the small eastern Bay of Plenty settlement for a programme of kapa haka, sports, debating and even a hip hop competition.

Ms Williams says the festival has come a long way since the first one back in 1971, but the main focus remains on the people.

“It's really the main reason for having a festival, allowing the 80 percent of the Tuhoe population an opportunity to come home and celebrate being Tuhoe. Really it is about getting together with whanau and catching up," Ms Williams says.

MARIU CALLS FOR MAORI NATIONAL NETBALL TEAM

Former Maori Women’s Welfare League president June Mariu says Maori should have their own national netball team.

Mrs Mariu, who captained the New Zealand team in 1960 and is a long term coach, says places in the Silver Ferns are limited, and Maori players need other goals to aspire to.

She says Maori players don’t have the international options of some of their peers.

“Islanders can get into the Ferns. South Africans can get into the Ferns. Anybody can get into the Ferns. Maori can get into the Ferns. But if they don’t we don’t have anything because of that rule of one nation one team. Whereas the islanders and everyone else can go back and get into their own teams,” Mrs Mariu says.

She says the Aotearoa Maori Netball tournament at Papakura over Easter should show how much talent there is around.

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