Despicable abuse of Police power while NZ is distracted by pandemic

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The thing that always sickens me about expanding Police powers in this country is the disgusting manner in which the Police assure us that whatever grotesque over extension of power they are seeking, they will only ever use it against the worst examples they are holding up for justification.

We are told that you and I as citizens in this liberal progressive democracy must accept erosions of our civil liberties because they will never be used against ‘us’ and only ever used against ‘them’.

As someone who has protested against state mass surveillance and has had his civil rights breached by the NZ Police during the disastrously flawed Nicky Hager/Dirty Politics prosecution, I am deeply skeptical of hollow promises made by Police that they won’t ever abuse their enormous powers and it is the reason I demand that the moment this plague has passed us by, the Government end us being a Police State and return our civil liberties unharmed as soon as possible. 

That’s why todays exclusive investigation by Matthew Blomfield is so important.

I was caustic in my criticism of National allowing the Police to move the evidential threshold of the proceeds of crime from beyond reasonable doubt to the balance of probabilities.

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I argued that it inadvertently re-set the risk profile of the entire the drug economy.

The new evidential threshold meant you risked losing everything as a cannabis grower. Why risk losing everything you own for a 6 month grow when you could make just as much in a weekend cook of meth?

This was one of the main reasons we went through a cannabis shortage a couple of years ago as criminals changed their risk profile and flooded the market with home cooked meth.

Despite its counter-productive impact on the drug economy, this extraordinary power to seize all your assets on the mere suspicion of the proceeds of crime was sold to us as a necessary sledge hammer to break organised crime and any possible terrorists, but look at the way the NZ Police have attempted to use it in the Salter Cartage example.

By re-defining a work accident as a crime, the NZ Police have seized the entire company by claiming the business is the ‘proceeds’ of this work and safety ‘crime’.

The gasp inducing audacity of what the Police are trying to do here is extraordinary. They are using a proceeds of crimes power that was supposed to smash organised crime against a company who have had a health and safety accident!

That’s like using a taser against an infant for resisting arrest.

At a time when NZ business are already struggling from the pandemic, Stuart Nash needs to explain why such an egregious misuse of extraordinary powers is being allowed to progress.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Agree 100%

    Funny enough don’t seem to see the same gusto to prosecute those leading Pike River or CTV building when they have unprecedented deaths that should have been prevented.

    Nor any interest in prosecuting Ports of Auckland and Talleys for their workplace deaths and accidents!

    And work safe has no issues with large Chinese owned wastemanagement companies running over a child on her own driveway with numerous deficiencies! Apparently work safe failed to interview the driver before writing his report letting the company off and subsequently making it hard for other prosecutions.
    http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/local-news/20190516/recycling-truck-tragedy/

    • There are just so many of these appalling ‘accidents’ where no one is ever taken to court I just cannot comprehend it.

      When the companies are fined as Talleys have been it is tiddlywinks frankly.

  2. This government made many otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals with their gun laws. However they allow road blocks run by the public and private property to be occupied if it suits their purpose. The police seem to come down heavily on the easy targets but the gangs continue to grow. I read the article about this case and wonder if there is another story that is behind this that the police cannot make stick so they are getting at this man through this means. Where are the journalists on this story I can imaging t would have been a lead story in North and South. It seems it is up to forums like this to do the work . I am sure there are going to be many cases of injustice as people go forward from the lockdown.

    • Trevor, can you elaborate as to how someone is a criminal now based on the change of the gun laws?

      • When the law was past it was estimated there were 170000 guns that should be handed in . They got 56000. and Nash said those with the guns are now criminals and set up an 0800 number to report offenders. I will add it was a good idea to get the guns out of circulation but the rushed law could have been better and the pay out greater to be fair to those that had these weapons which suddenly became illegal.

      • One example: If you own a weapon with a magazine load capable of above 7 rounds was made illegal. Many legally sane NZ gun owners had such basic weapons & were perfect law abiding citizens, until Jacinda & Co let a foreign Aussie nut job into our country able to use his foreign gun license to load up for a mass killing!

        • I sometimes suspect and worry that Jacinda may be a ‘ Blair Witch Project ,,, but Ross believes in some crazy magic, to blame her and presumably her Government,, for the Aussie Subpremacist moving here a couple of years before their election ,,, when National was in power .

          And because the ‘Aussie nut job’ did not have a criminal record ,,, we can not blame the Nats for his moving here either,,,. At that time he was as much a law abiding person as all the other gun owners with ‘clean records’. Unlike those presently in possession of illegal weapons ,,, he was not breaking laws or committing crime.

          Ironically ,,, if some home grown nutter like David Gray had committed a mass shooting 6 or 9 months before the Christchurch slaughter ,,, and our gun laws were reformed earlier ,,,the little ausie shithead would have been one of the ‘innocent law abiding gun owners ‘,, penalized for a crime he never committed….

          But we can blame the Nats and Paula Bennet in particular,,, for not changing or aligning our gun laws with Australian ones ,,, much like a big loophole for mass shooters ,,, New Zealand gave him the opportunity and means to obtain weapons which are outlawed in Australia.

          National were also in power when the Aussies changed their gun laws ,,,after a mass shooting with Assault weapons which killed 35 and left a further 25 children, women and men with serious gunshot injuries ,,, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-27/martin-bryants-weapons-and-ammunition/7356720?nw=0

          • I dont suppose they will be seizing the National partys assets and money if the serious fraud investigation succeds ‘ will they also charge them with participating in a organized criminal group along with conspiracy to commit organized crime .for the serious fraud police to be involved it has to be major crime . Or is it different for them than the poor farmer that has some bugget grow pot on his farm or as you say with place accidents or people that have not being convicted and only suspected of to loose every thing ??

      • I am now a criminal, maybe, I think…but to be honest I do not know if I am or not.

        I have had a firearms license for over 30 years and lived at the same address for over 15. I have also had the firearms police in my lounge during a license renewal. There is no possible way the Govt does not know I own weapons or how to contact me. So knowing all that it is more than fair and reasonable to expect something from the Govt telling me what the changes are, how that affects my weapons and what to do with any weapons or parts of that now fall foul of the law.

        How many times as the Govt, or any of it’s agents, contacted me a known licensed firearms owner at a known address about the changes?

        ZERO times.

        I did hear some talk that would suggest one magazine I have is now too big in capacity so it maybe illegal. That was just talk at the pub though so no real idea if it is true or not.

        The making of a criminal in NZ is that easy daryl.

    • TS
      Yes, the police do seem to use their discretion to enforce the law selectively, in ways that prioritise easy targets.

      The precedent established if; the Salter asset seizure, is not reversed, is of most concern to me. Bloomfield’s piece displays personal regard for Salter (& similar family enterprises) which, however readable and sincere; I find distracts from the central point of double jeopardy.
      Let’s imagine (hypothetically), if certain police officers were in the fullness of time demonstrated to be conspiring with rival companies (say; in exchange for future, or nepotistic, lucrative executive consultancy positions). Then chose to exercise their discretionary powers to harrass a small family company that the previous conspirators found inconvenient: Would the police as a whole (being an organisation with three or more members engaged in a criminal activity) be liable to have their own assets seized?

      Or more simply; are the police subject to the law, or not? And if not; why should they expect anyone else to comply with those laws, except in response to direct threats of force, or forceful imprisonment?

    • Never mind what Nash is saying Trevor ,,, Its what the laws of the land, as passed by parliament and written in our statute books which matter ,,,

      ie, possession of military style or large magazine semi automatic firearms as used by the Christchurch mass murderer is against the law ,,, by definition breaking a law is a criminal act ,,, and the law breaker is certainly a criminal ,,, because they are committing crime.

      It would seem natural that the people prepared to ignore and break our firearms laws, would also flout our drug laws ,,,, although I suspect they would more likely be meth and speed users ,,, as that is what the armed forces supply to combat troops.

      Cannabis less so ,,, the bloody noisy dangerous things would spoil the relaxed atmosphere music and conversations, that Cannabis users often enjoy.

      When it comes to Guns or Cannabis law breakers ,,,I know which ‘criminal’ type I’d rather live next door to.

      ***********************************************

      However in concession to Trevor,,, and thanks mainly to coverage of the gun law changes here at the TDB , mostly written by Mr Bomber Bradbury,,,

      ,, I agree with Trev that the law should be given a review,,,, with input from relevant and credible shooters associations ,,,to fix any mistakes which happen with rushed law making ,,, and things were emotionally charged at the time to,, allowing the police and others to over-reach,

      So If I were labour,,,I’d promise a review ,,,But with the added purpose of Aligning our gun laws with Australian ones.

      Failure to do this years ago,,,was the Direct and Ultimate cause for that hopeless, backwards, white trash of the Pacific Aussie shit head ,,, to come to NZ and do his own Martin Bryant cowards attack.

      Announcing long overdue gun law alignment in the ANZAC spirit ,,, would be a good way for Labour to compromise and tweak the law ,,, without losing face ,,

      There could be a CER case for aligned firearms laws as well ,,, shooters both here and in Aussie would appreciate their licenses being valid in both countrys.

      Value wise, hunters are probably among the best tourists we get ,,, they provide a environmental service for us.

  3. People posited that Stuart Nash would be a hollow reed that would lean to the Right when he was first promoted to Police Minister. Some people are pretty sussed about the characters and direction of politicians in this country. I hope that will grow exponentially and by the time elections come we will see some good decision making by voters.

    It is amazing how some people can project themselves by their effectiveness and power of mind, and when they are good practical people as Michael Savage was, look how he is remembered today. Today some media crawler would have found out that had clay feet, but then he did so much good!

    He didn’t cave into some easy-peasy system that was being put about by politically prominent people – ooh the alliteration – also can be expressed as PPP, and so perhaps has a double meaning. The Labour Government have to be strong again and find a way to control this police cancer that is developing, or has developed! It
    is very worrying, armed police etc. And working in with Australia, in tandem it seems, and Australia going like the USA.

    Help! – an infection from the USA that kills off good intentions in a country, results in shootings in churches and schools, and everyone feeling so insecure they have to carry their own guns in case there aren’t police around with theirs. And the police here practising with vehicles the fox hunting craze of the classes in the UK with the upper hand. Makes you think don’t it. But of what quality and direction are your thoughts?

  4. Its what sensational news and party propaganda headlines are made from.
    “Going Hard” on crime! As Jacinda would say? Stamp the Muthafuckers out! Kinda thing.

    Capitalism exists in the criminal world too!

    Anyway, if the Referendum goes through, that’ll fuck the pigs off. Their workload will drop off and then they can go back to being a PC plod back out on the beat!

    • And now! The Executive Club of the Labour Government are imposing their Draconian Power over societies right to speak up and speak out!

      Environment Minister David Parker said new legislation was expected to be passed in June to allow for faster Resource Management Act (RMA) consenting of development and infrastructure projects, in response to the damage the coronavirus pandemic was having on the economy.

      Created in 1991, the RMA allows communities to make decisions on how their own environment is managed through regional and district resource management plans.

      Parker said the RMA provided for local decision-making generally by local councils with the public having a right of participation and appeal. However, under the new powers resource consent decisions for large projects would not go to council and public input would not happen. Instead, a panel of experts chaired by an Environment Court judge would determine whether a project could be given the green light, he said. And no Maori allowed except for ‘our’ inhouse brown folks. ffs!

  5. Yes Martyn,

    I live in a formerly quiet alpine Gisborne farming coommunity.

    Called Matawai where in 2005, it was quiet backroad territory.

    But now it is seemingly daily crammed with ‘stock trucks’!!!!

    Yes the dairy industry is now very ‘intense’.

    So we cant keep thisa “Chinese factory farming activity up.

    So I agree with you we need to revert to changes of farming practices again.

  6. Haven’t seen the police coming after Talleys assets who have numerous work place accidents.

    A bid by Talley’s Group’s to avoid prosecution over a accident that left a worker paralysed has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

    “Te Atatu Hemi, 42, was working at Talley’s Frozen Foods in Ashburton in May 2015, when vegetable bins stacked on a forklift fell, crushing her.

    Government safety watchdog WorkSafe charged Talley’s with failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Hemi’s safety, but Talley’s, which pleaded not guilty, sought to have the charge dismissed.”

    In July last year Talley’s lost another appeal in a different case following an injury to another of its workers in 2017. In that case WorkSafe had issued it an improvement notice after a worker’s hand was seriously injured while cleaning a conveyor at its Motueka mussel processing plant.

    Also in July last year a boiler exploded at a Northland meat-processing plant, owned by Talley’s-owned Affco, leaving a man critically injured with burns to his chest and face.

    In 2016 Talley’s was ordered by the Nelson District Court to pay $21,000 to the family of a worker decapitated on one of its ships in 2014.

    The same year Affco was fined $30,000, and ordered to pay $25,000 to a worker impaled on a meat hook in 2014. The hook entered his ear, came out of his eye, trapping him on the hook for 30 minutes.

    In 2015, Talley’s was convicted under the Health and Safety in Employment Act following the death of a worker who fell through an insecure open hatch on one of its tuna boats in 2012.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/111891669/talleys-loses-bid-to-get-paralysis-injury-accident-charge-dismissed

    • Where Salters Cartage went wrong… Be like Tallies multiple workplace deaths and accidents, small fines and certainly no police investigation that leads to trying to seize the owners assets under the crimes act.

      Could this be the reason???

      During the 2014 election candidate donations shows Talley’s contributed $42,500 to the campaigns of nine candidates (mostly National) standing for regional seats.

      Three of these – Chester Borrows, Stuart Smith and Damien O’Connor (the only Labour recipient) – are members of Parliament’s Primary Industries Select Committee. Each received $5000.

      Talley’s has donated to NZ First candidate Shane Jones (while a Labour MP) he declared donations of $10,000 apiece from Sealord and Talley’s. Talley’s is also helping fund Jones’ Whangarei campaign for NZ First.

      Corruption and influence so cheap in NZ!

  7. Police are not prosecuting Ports of Auckland

    Ports of Auckland worker killed in straddle truck incident named
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12119922

    Worker in hospital after inferno at Auckland port
    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/black-smoke-billowing-from-ports-of-auckland-blaze/

    Ports of Auckland Fined for Stevedore Injury
    Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) has been fined $55,000 and ordered to pay $25,000 in reparation to a stevedore who suffered serious injuries unloading a containership at the port in January 2014, Maritime New Zealand Media reported.
    https://www.marinelink.com/news/stevedore-auckland-injury388110

    Ports Of Auckland Fined $40,000 For Illegal Actions
    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1212/S00210/ports-of-auckland-fined-40000-for-illegal-actions.htm

  8. Just reread this and it’s unbelievable the lack of justice to the family

    Talley’s Group fined over decapitation of worker

    Nelson-based fishing company Talley’s Group has been fined $73,520
    Only $21,000 reparations to the family of a man

    “Talley Group pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees while at work, when sentenced in Nelson District Court today.

    The court was told that a 50mm safety rope connected to a fishing net had previously snapped three weeks before Mr Muir died but it hadn’t been replaced, despite a replacement rope being available on-board.

    Instead, a knot had been tied in the rope and it continued to be used.

    The cause of the breakage was not investigated by the company.

    The rope then broke again, after it was put under increased strain by the failure of a strop on the net.

    The failure of the strop is believed to have been the result of a poor splice, Maritime NZ said.

    At the time of the incident, Mr Muir was working inside the “snap-back zone”, an area of high-risk in the event of a rope breaking.

    The danger of standing in the snap-back zone was highlighted in the vessel’s hazards register.

    Maritime New Zealand maritime compliance general manager Harry Hawthorn said this was a “horrific accident” which highlighted what should have been done to manage the risks involved in deep sea fishing.

    “In this case, the rope had already broken once, but the reasons for that had not been considered. The rope had been repaired, not replaced, and it broke again. The dangers of the snap-back zone had been identified but crew were still required to work in that area.”

    https://nelsonweekly.co.nz/2016/06/fishing-company-talleys-group-fined-decapitation-worker/

    • Talley Fishery are know to be donators to NZ First Fou dation so Winston has their back

      • Business fines should be related to turnover as a percentage aka how commerce commission operate. Aka for a death of a worker or civilian from one of their workers actions 5% fine of previous years turnover fined and given to the family. Lawyers would not be able to get them off, if it was an instant fine.

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