GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Good Cop. Bad Cop


We’ve recently seen the NZ Police at their best. Within 21 minutes of the dreadful Christchurch mosque attack they had arrested the prime suspect and by their rapid response prevented further bloodshed. Good on them.

But the police are human and so while we give them enormous powers in order to keep us safe from those who would do us harm and to bring offenders to justice, we also insist that the Police , themselves , keep to the rules otherwise the powers we grant them can be abused.

One of the safety mechanisms the law provides is that the Police should obtain a warrant to search personal things like bank accounts.

And certainly when it comes to the police dealing with politically charged incidents their process of gaining access to such personal data needs to be lawful and transparent.

Earlier this year author Nicky Hager received apologies from police and Westpac over the way 10 months of his banking information was obtained without a warrant during the inquiry into the hacker Rawshark.

Yesterday I learned that Blogger Martyn Bradbury (pictured) has not only had to contend with his personal bank accounts being searched without a warrant but that the police are now seeking a closed hearing of the Human Rights Tribunal to present evidence it does not want made public.

In other words the police want what they did in secret to be judged in secret.

That’s not healthy for our democracy.

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It is important that journalists should be free to go about their work without fear of intimidation by Crown authorities.

The police need to front up about why they treated Martyn Bradbury in the way they did and Martyn’s bank needs to apologise to him for the unnecessary stress they have caused him in breaching his privacy.

In short…

We need a police force we can trust.

Not one that we fear.

Because the moment that line is crossed it is the beginning of the end for ALL our freedoms.

Kia Kaha Martyn.


Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. Yes Brian correctly said.

    And while we are at it where is the promises Labour made before the election, you remember Jacinda standing at the podium at Auckland’s Civic theatre saying; – “we will bring a Warm, kinder, caring, inclusive , transparent government”

    The way they treated our hero Martyn Bradbury, was so evil and this happened while the last days of the national Government were trying to silence the critics like Martyn is always, and that is his job as a investigative journalist, and he is bloody good at his craft to, and he assisted the labour Party doing it, so now Labour need to pay him back ‘in kind’ and correct all the invasion and trampling of Martyn’s human rights and offer him a public apology.

  2. Yes, I have not commentated on this as I have become a little ‘politics weary’ ,… but its certainly time we all expressed our opposition to this sort of thing.

    And no its ‘ not healthy for our democracy ‘ .

    That is it in a nutshell.

    You cannot have a democracy when an individual cannot challenge and successfully refute his accusers by keeping such proceedings behind closed doors, safe from any perusal. Any ‘ judge’ who does so is complicit in undermining our very legal system , thus our democracy.

  3. Sorry to say Bryan but your comments show your naivete, the new zealand police have long been a criminal organisation flush with retribution revenge, corruption and lawlessness. Which is openly displayed.

    • Sadly I have to agree, the police are fundamentally right wing.
      I recently watched the documentary about the death of the guy at the Huka Falls after a bondage session. No accountability for the cops who lied in court and did all sorts of things over that case. It all goes into a big black hole.

      Now do tell me what happened to the cops who carried out the bashing of the clowns during the ’81 tour………………

      Wet bus tickets are their modus operandi

  4. After viewing several responses, including my own, to activists seeking information that the NZSIS may hold on them–encouraged during the brief ‘openness” period under Director Tucker–my suspicion would be that the Police do not want to reveal what other agencies they interacted with in the Bradbury case, and they certainly do not want to reveal the identities of living informants, and they do not want to prejudice other such operations.

    Not good enough reasons in any event to seek a closed hearing.

    The State Security forces have greater powers following the changes under the Key Govt., including possible lifetime anonymity, warrantless snooping, and extension of surveillance powers to various Govt. Departments. Any chance to hold this power accountable must be taken.

  5. This should be in an Open Court if the NZ Police or any other Government Department is contravening NZ Laws they need to be held accountable ?

    This Secret Squirrell stuff has to stop, in the Bradbury Case I believe it was “Politically Motivated” by someone in the previous Government ?

  6. New Zealand is a corporation…it is a business…with shareholders.
    Who runs the corporation?
    What entities enforce its laws?
    Where do the profits come from?
    Where do the profits go?
    Who finally benefits from this PRIVATELY OWNED CORPORATION?
    Time for us all to wake up and realize that we have “best used by” dates stamped on our foreheads by those who run this corporation.
    If you stick your head above the parapet be prepared to have it poked, or worse, blown off, by the entities who enforce the laws made to PROTECT the corporation.

    • Well said, people need to wake up ……….. Look at the Deep State …….. Miss Jacinda is a better puppet than Key but nono the less still a Deep State hand puppet……..!!!!

  7. Bring back Waatea 5th Estate, it was an awesome show! Less arrests and more Waatea 5th Estate please!

  8. I think this campaign against Martyn, with its obsession with secrecy, smacks of something deeply personal. I don’t really know the back story to all of this but clearly someone in the National Party has both a deep and dark sense of revenge/utu and close ties with the police/security services. The secrecy has nothing to do with genuine security but with protecting the (probable) MP from exposure and embarrassment.

  9. John Key definitely had a hand in the demise of Martyn Bradbury & John Campbell’s journalistic careers ?

    John Key did not particularly like Investigative Journalists ?

  10. Bryan i have asked Ross Meruant i his current post on ” who governs us ” if he can give us some insight as a former policeman as to why the police have decided on this course of action.
    I look forward to his response in a post that is timely during this time when the actions of the police need clarification.

    • Mosa
      Its not a simple answer.
      I shall cogitate and revert but probably via a post: “What makes a Guardian”.

      I have a novel coming out Dad’s Day which is on this subject.

      But I’ll endeavour to capture the culture in a blog – an interesting challenge

  11. > “We’ve recently seen the NZ Police at their best. Within 21 minutes of the dreadful Christchurch mosque attack they had arrested the prime suspect and by their rapid response prevented further bloodshed.”

    I realize you’re tying to throw them a bone here before criticizing them, but if they’d done the best they are capable that day, they would have blocked the only two (2) roads out of the road where the Al Noor mosque is, at intersections that are only minutes away from the brand new central Police headquarters, and prevented even more bloodshed. It still boggles my mind that out of all the mosques in Ōtautahi, the shooter started his attacks with the two mosques closest to that Police headquarters. It’s almost like he thought they wouldn’t stop him, and it’s a curious coincidence that the two cops who did stop were from out of town.

    “Some of those that work forces …”?

  12. I agree the police are fundamentally right leaning, which is the only clear reason so far they didn’t have white wing fanatics on their radar, a crime of negligence if ever there was one. Also the over zealous attention to leftwinger commentators resulting in a secret court hearing to explain why they got hold of bank accounts without a warrant is bizarre.

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