Police checkpoint targeting meeting attendees

Stuff reports that Police admit using checkpoint to target euthanasia meeting attendees

Police have admitted they used a breath-testing checkpoint to target people who had attended an Exit International euthanasia meeting.

The move has been criticised as an “unlawful checkpoint to interrogate pensioners” by one lawyer, while another said it was probably a breach of police powers. 

A complaint has already been laid with the Independent Police Conduct Authority about the officers’ actions in Lower Hutt earlier this month, and it is understood at least one other will be laid in coming days.

If unlawful this is bad, but even if it isn’t unlawful this is an awful action targeting people who legally attended a meeting.

It is understood police were originally investigating on behalf of a coroner looking into a death, suspected to be self-inflicted.

But when police decided to turn the investigation into a criminal operation, they asked a coroner if they could put the coronial investigation on hold.

Questions put to police late last week and over Labour Weekend went unanswered. But on Wednesday, Inspector Chris Bensemann supplied a written statement confirming the checkpoint was to “identify people attending an Exit International meeting in Lower Hutt”.

He said police had a duty of care and a “responsibility to the community to investigate any situation where we have reasonable grounds to suspect that persons are being assisted in the commission of suicide”.

“Police are responsible for enforcing New Zealand’s laws, and currently suicide or encouraging/helping someone to commit suicide is illegal in New Zealand.”

I don’t think committing suicide is illegal.

Regardless, using alcohol checkpoints for other purposes, effectively detaining and questioning people just because of a meeting they had attended, is quite disturbing.

He confirmed the operation was conducted via a breath-testing checkpoint near the location of the meeting.

“Information gathered through the checkpoint has enabled police to provide support and information to those people who we had reason to believe may be contemplating suicide.”

That’s way outside the allowable uses for checkpoints.


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  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  26th October 2016

    I can’t make any sense of it. Was there some reason to suppose that the people had been drinking ? I can’t believe that the police had nothing better to do that evening….

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th October 2016

    Unfortunately police management have serious judgement and credibility issues and are rarely called to account by the media who are dependent on them for half their newspaper stories and therefore hostage.

    • Gezza

       /  26th October 2016

      1ewes at 6 coverage was critical of the police, especially because it included video clips of two elderly women who were outraged not only to be stopped under false pretensed but to then be visited by the police and handed a letter ostensibly giving them advice about where to get help if they were contemplating suicide, which neither currently was, and at least one of whom considered they were being warned off from having anything to do with the International Exit group.

  3. Corky

     /  26th October 2016

    Police are becoming more like the Stasi- an arm of the residing government, not that state. They take DNA tests for many criminal offences, and keep those results even if the person is found innocent. It wont belong before they demand all new borns have their blood spots put on a national DNA data base. They spend precious time bulk scanning number plates for little return, but they do collect large amounts of information. They try their luck with unsigned search warrants. They’ll arrest you for self defence, and apparently meddle in your private life just incase you are thinking of topping yourself. Oh, and they sack their own when a cop reprimands an unruly student during a school talk. Weird stuff.

  4. Blazer

     /  26th October 2016

    ‘nothing to fear…nothing to…hide’….is the chant from Key and his U.S ordered spying agenda .

    • Jeeves

       /  27th October 2016

      A cop said that inane shit to me once- “What have you got to hide?”
      And I replied “Everything – because its all none of your fucking business – it’s private”


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