Poll shows public support of police pursuits

Public opinion probably shouldn’t be a factor in deciding whether the police pursue fleeing drivers or not, but a poll shows large support for the police.

“Do you think police pursuits in New Zealand should be banned?”

  • Yes – 12%
  • No – 82%

1 News: Most Kiwis want police to continue chasing fleeing drivers – 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll

A record 13 people were killed in police pursuits last year, with at least eight deaths so far this year.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said he thinks pursuits are “a pragmatic approach to policing”.

“When 59 per cent of pursuits are abandoned I do think that is the police taking a very responsible attitude towards this”.

National’s police spokesperson Chris Bishop said, “Obviously your heart goes out to them and their families, but you do have to send a message.”

But critics say the risk of pursuits outweighs the reason and far too many people are being killed.

The number of police pursuits have shot up by 64 per cent in the last six years, and the Independent Police Conduct Authority is reviewing current policy, despite there having been six reviews and 12 new versions of the policy in recent years.

I don’t think that pursuits should be banned altogether, but it is difficult getting the balance right between apprehending criminals or suspected offenders and public safety.

Police have to make quick decisions on whether to pursue or not, trying to assess the possible reaction of the driver and the risks involved.

There have been many re-examinations of police pursuit policy.

Policy review from 2010:New Zealand Police Pursuits Policy Review (PDF, 588KB)

There is a lot of information in response to an OIA here: Police pursuit policy and statistics

Stuff (March 2018) – Police chases: Fleeing drivers must ‘take more responsibility’, police say

A car fleeing police on Sunday morning crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle near Nelson, leaving both occupants of the fleeing vehicle and the sole occupant of another car – uninvolved in the chase – dead.

Such incidents have increased in number from fewer than 2500 a year in 2012 to 3797 in 2017, according to a police report. The number of deaths during fleeing driver events have increased from two in 2014 to 10 (from nine events) in 2017.

Police assistant commissioner for road policing Sandra Venables said fleeing drivers needed to take more responsibility.

“He or she has to take more responsibility and make better decisions. We would hope people would just realise it’s better to stop and talk to the police officer,” she said.

“We [police] have to strike a balance between the responsibility to protect life and the duty to enforce the law, but it’s really up to the driver in these pursuits.”

Police never took pursuits with fleeing drivers lightly, Venables said.

“It’s one of those quick judgement calls police make every day to keep the public safe and uphold the law,” she said.

“On a number of occasions in the pursuits, we’ve found many of them can be stolen vehicles . . . there’s many reasons, and its always a constant balancing act.”

A difficult balancing act for the police.

 

Haumaha mess up-murks

Controversy over the appointment of Wally Hauhama as deputy police commissioner has up-murked even more.

NZH: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ‘hugely frustrated’ with ‘drip feed’ of information after promotion of Wally Haumaha

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is “hugely frustrated” information which should have been considered before Wally Haumaha was promoted to deputy police commissioner is being “drip fed” after the appointment was made.

“I’m hugely frustrated to be in a situation where an appointment has been made and now we’re having information being drip fed out, which should have been made available at the time of the appointment. That’s why we’re undertaking this work,” said Ardern, referring to the inquiry.

She has come back onto the job after the fuse was lit on this stink bomb left behind by Winston Peters, who has been implicated in questions over the appointment and NZ First connections with Haumaha.

More murk yesterday:

Her comments came after an ongoing Herald investigation into the promotion today revealed three women working on a joint project walked out of Police National Headquarters because of Haumaha’s alleged bullying towards them.

The policy analysts – two from the Justice Ministry, one from Corrections – were based at PNHQ in Wellington working in the Māori, Pacific, Ethnic Services division run by Haumaha, a superintendent at the time.

They were excited to be working on the cross-sector project, which started in October 2015, to improve “justice outcomes” for Māori, who are over-represented in arrest statistics and the prison population.

A number of alleged verbal bullying incidents, including a particularly heated exchange in which one of Haumaha’s senior staff intervened, contributed to the three women leaving PNHQ in June 2016 feeling “devalued and disillusioned”.

The three women told their managers, did not return to PNHQ, and continued working on the project from the Justice Ministry offices.

And:

The inquiry into Haumaha’s appointment was announced the day the Herald revealed comments he made during Operation Austin, an investigation into historic police rape allegations made by Louise Nicholas.

He described his friends Brad Shipton as a “softie” and Bob Schollum as a “legend” with women, while one officer told the 2004 investigation into the police sex allegations that Haumaha described Nicholas’ allegations as “a nonsense”.

While Haumaha has apologised, Police Minister Stuart Nash said he was unaware of the “deeply disappointing” comments when he gave Haumaha’s name to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for the deputy commissioner role.

Under questioning in Parliament by National MP Chris Bishop yesterday, Nash also confirmed the “Wally” he mentioned in Facebook video post about lifting weights was Haumaha.

“Peeni Henare, Wally and Alf – Just calling out those who doubted. All in the name of trying to keep the ageing body in some sort of shape. Hard on a parliamentary diet,” Nash posted in April, referring to fellow MPs and Haumaha.

Nash said he did not lift weights with Haumaha and they did not have a personal relationship.

National MP Chris Bishop has been keeping the pressure on the Government over the appointment.

The comment was “odd”, said Chris Bishop.

“I certainly think it’s strange you’ve got the Minister calling out on social media someone who is now the Deputy Commissioner of Police.”

Also from Bishop:

From RNZ: Government confidence in Wally Haumaha wavers

Senior government ministers are not falling over themselves to back Mr Haumaha. Police Minister Stuart Nash, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern all gave similar answers to the question of whether they had confidence in him.

Also Haumaha ‘disrespects and bullies women’ – Louise Nicholas

Louise Nicholas says several women have approached her over the years complaining about Wally Haumaha’s attitude towards women and his bullying behaviour.

Ms Nicholas said there wasn’t a lot of information given to her at the time but she wasn’t surprised that the women were saying this was what Mr Haumaha was like.

“One in particular said to me ‘how the hell did he get to where he is with the way he treats women, it’s not right’.”

The women told Ms Nicholas that Mr Haumaha was a bully.

“They felt they weren’t listened to, they were in positions of doing the job they were employed to do, if I can put it that way, and yet it didn’t matter what they were saying or doing, it was kind of like he was slam dunking them, he wasn’t listening to them.”

She hopes the inquiry is wide enough to cover these concerns.

“Wally Haumaha has done amazing work in his capacity as iwi liaison, we can’t take that away from him. My concern, and the concern of other women has been that he disrespects and bullies women, that is what’s come to my attention and that is what I know.”

Ms Nicholas said she warned the executive when they were looking to appoint Mr Haumaha.

“I said ‘it’s going to come back and bite you in the arse, it’s something you should not be doing’.”

The Government arse is getting a bit of a biting over this.

The inquiry should address most of these concerns, but first a new inquiry needs to be appointed.

Ardern and her Government should be checking things very carefully before making that appointment.

Nash withdraws from fund raiser, Hooton goes ahead anyway

This is just weird – Labour Minister Stuart Nash had organised a $1,000 a pop fund raiser for today – see Another Labour big money fundraiser – but withdrew because ‘friend’ and joint fund raiser Matthew Hooton criticised Labour this week. However Hooton went ahead anyway.

NZH: Labour MP Stuart Nash pulls out of his own fundraiser citing attacks on Labour by friend and right-wing lobbyist Matthew Hooton

Labour MP Stuart Nash pulled the pin on his own fundraiser at the Northern Club today, saying it would be inappropriate to attend because of the involvement of right-wing lobbyist Matthew Hooton.

Hooton is an old friend of Nash’s and had been involved in organising the fundraiser of about 20 of Nash’s friends since 2014.

Nash’s decision came after the Herald learned the $1000-a-head lunch was also a fundraiser for Hooton.

Nash said his decision to pull out was because Hooton had criticised Labour and his fellow Labour Minister David Parker in recent days over the ban on foreign buyers in New Zealand – criticism Parker has said was unwarranted.

“In light of Matthew’s attacks on the Government, in particular David Parker, I’ve decided it is no longer appropriate to attend the fundraiser with Matthew so I have pulled out.”

About 20 people, a mix of Hooton’s clients and old friends and acquaintances of Nash, were due to attend the lunch at the Northern Club today.

The event went ahead without him and Nash said he had offered refunds, minus the cost of the lunch, to all those who turned up but would keep the “donations” of those who did not want a refund.

Nash has been connected to right wing political operators before.

Political circles are small in New Zealand, and fund raising circles seem even smaller.

The Herald had learned some of those attending were to contribute their $1000 towards Hooton’s legal costs in a case taken by former National minister Steven Joyce rather than to Nash.

A fund raiser for costs to cover legal actions taken against him buy an ex National MP.

Why Nash associated himself with that in the first place is, ah, curious.

Another Labour big money fundraiser

Fund raising is a necessity in New Zealand politics. You need money to campaign, you need to campaign to get votes, and you need votes to succeed.

So generally fund raising shouldn’t be a big deal. Unless you do what you blasted another party for doing. Labour has been spotlighted for big money fundraising again.

NZH: Labour’s Stuart Nash defends $1000-a-head fundraiser

MP for Napier
Minister of Police, Fisheries, Revenue, and Small Business

Weeks after Labour was criticised for holding fundraisers featuring ministers, Labour’s Stuart Nash will hold a lunch fundraiser at the swanky Northern Club where about 20 people will pay $1000 each to hear him talk.

Nash said the fundraiser in Auckland today was to raise money for his Napier campaign in 2020.

Those invited were friends and acquaintances “who have done well in life” and he was speaking as Napier MP rather than in his capacity as a minister.

The old ‘not as a Minister’ trick.

It seems odd to put on a swanky show for friends and acquaintances. They shouldn’t need to be lavished with luxury to extract money from them.

Why fund raise in Auckland for a Napier campaign? That seems odd.

And it’s two years until the campaign will start to wind up.

It comes a fortnight after Labour was accused of hypocrisy for a fundraiser at the Wellington Club where attendees paid $600 a head to listen to Finance Minister Grant Robertson speak about the Budget.

Funny how generally parties and politicians change their views on what is acceptable or not depending on whether they are in Government or not.

But this isn’t new territory for Nash.

Stuff 28 September 2014 – Stuart Nash: it’s all about ‘bloody hard work’

“You would be surprised by some of the people who contributed to my campaign,” Nash says, smiling.

He mentions a fundraiser at the exclusive Northern Club in Auckland, chasing lawyers, accountants and businessmen, “people who never vote Labour but believe in me and what I’m doing . . . a lot of time you are hitting up your wealthy friends for money”.

The money let him start campaigning early.

He had time to campaign then. He has now an established MP, and a Minister with a much bigger profile.

Consensus government or an awful mess?

It’s certainly been a messy week for the Government. Is it a sign of a bigger, awful mess?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tried to paper over some of this weeks cracks by claiming it was consensus government in action, but there were worrying suggestions it was the opposite – both Labour and NZ First ministers look like they are pushing their own agendas with poor or non-existent communication between them.

There are worrying signs of a lack of overall leadership, and this is at a very tricky time, with Ardern distracted by having a baby and due to go on maternity leave as soon as her baby is born (actually as soon as she goes into Labour and goes into hospital).

The big unknown is whether things will spiral more out of control with Winston Peters in charge.

The media have observed this weeks mess and many have commented on it.

Stacey Kirk (Stuff): Three ring circus with one ringmaster at the centre – buckle in for a wild ride

Consensus government in action, or a bloody awful mess?

It’s difficult to characterise the past week as anything but the latter and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may be worried about whether she’ll have a Government to come back to when she returns from maternity leave.

Her MPs don’t exactly make it easy for her.

And if this week has illustrated anything it’s what lies at the beating heart of any coalition-related controversy – Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has been at the centre of everything.

I don’t think he has. He had nothing to do with the David Clark revelations. And nothing to do with the Green uprising over granting water bottling rights.

And nothing to do with Stuart Nash telling a parliamentary committee he didn’t bother reading advice on what effect increasing poluice numbers might have, and would have ignored the advice if he had read it.

Peters  wasn’t directly involved in Kelvin Davis announcing a new prison that will rely on double bunking to cater for growing prisoner numbers – and Davis went as far as saying they could resort to mattresses on the floor. Peters didn’t directly cause that brain fart, but Labour are limited in becoming more lenient on imprisonment when they require NZ First votes to do any law changes.

But Peters dumped Little in a big mess over 3 strikes.

It began with a hastily-arranged press conference by Justice Minister Andrew Little, to reveal that his grand plan to repeal the three strikes legislation had been shot out of the sky.

He’d spent the previous week giving interviews about his plans to take it to Cabinet and push forward – the only issue was, he did not have the numbers to do so. More embarrassingly for Little, Peters decided to wait until the 11th hour to let him know.

Total humiliation  awaits any member of Cabinet who threatens to step outside the bounds of MMP and attempt a “first past the post”-style power play to get ahead of public opinion – that’s what Little got and really, he should have expected it.

That was in part self inflicted, but Peters played Little then dumped on him big time.

Never one to play second fiddle, Peters also took a starring role in a different drama. Days out from assuming the seat at the head of the Cabinet table was the moment he chose to file papers in the High Court, suing the Government and top officials over their handling of his private superannuation details.

Ardern’s assertions rang out more as pleas, that his actions were a totally private matter. Presiding over a Cabinet that may be liable for an eventual payout to Peters is awkward at best, and a clear conflict at worst – a matter that is most certainly in the public interest.

Peters’ court action looks debatable, but he has made Ardern look weak – or more accurately, Ardern has made herself look weak, just as she is about to hand over most of her power to Peters.

Meanwhile, as sources across multiple polls have suggested NZ First has well and truly settled below the 5 per cent MMP threshold, Shane Jones has pulled out the megaphone to tear strips off Fonterra. A total overstep many might say, of a Minister of the Crown. However, Ardern is adamant these comments were made in a private capacity, despite Jones as good as repeating them in the House.

This again makes Ardern look weak if not impotent in her own Government.

And she is now sidelined, leaving Peters and Jones to take on board this week’s signals and likely do as they please to raise their profile, putting the government at risk.

And Labour’s ministers look increasingly arrogant, uncoordinated and messy.

The Government looks like a bunch of headless chooks, with the fox about to take over the hen house.

 

Targeting more asset seizures from criminals

The Minister of Police and the Police are targeting an increase in asset seizures from criminals.  The Government is already promoting this revenue as a means of paying for policy implementation.

On Wednesday the Government announced New addiction treatment facilities for Auckland City Mission

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced Government funding to increase the number of beds available in Auckland for drug and alcohol detoxification by 50 per cent.

Currently there are a total of 20 detox beds funded in the Auckland region, which will be moved to Mission HomeGround once it is complete in two years’ time. All up it will house 30 studio units (15 medical detox beds and 15 social detox beds) – allowing for an increase of ten beds.

The $16.7 million will be drawn from money recovered under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.

“This development will help turn lives around. I can’t think of a better use of the funds recovered from the proceeds of crime than that,” Jacinda Ardern said.

This is a welcome increase in drug addiction facilities.

I didn’t realise that proceeds of seized assets went into a special pot that could be then applied to specific purposes.

A day later stuff reported: Police aim to seize millions from gangs, new cabinet paper reveals

A new police target aiming to seize $500 million from gangs may only serve to further marginalise a hard-to-reach community, those on the inside say.

A Cabinet paper seen by Stuff shows Police Minister Stuart Nash and Police Commissioner Mike Bush have set four new “high-level outcome targets”, while also retaining most of the previous government’s nine performance targets at an operational level.

The targets include $500m in cash and assets seized from gangs and criminals by 2021.

Nash said a small number of key targets would help focus police on priority areas, and since taking on the job, he has been clear about his plan to focus on gang-related crime.

The Government’s aim of confiscating $500m in cash and assets from gangs is an extension of the former National government’s target – $400m by 2021.

It’s a significant increase on the previous target, but not a huge amount. And it must amount to guessing, similar to claims made for a long time from Governments about how much tax evasion they will recover money from.

Last week, Nash told RNZ it was unrealistic to say police would wipe out all gangs.

“What we want to do is go incredibly hard against the gang leaders responsible for these meth rings, or drug rings,” he said.

But Nash refused to talk to Stuff about this issue.

The RNZ article: Insight: Future of Gangs

Police Minister Stuart Nash said it was unrealistic to try to eliminate all gangs, but he wants to “go incredibly hard” against gang leaders who are running drug operations.

He said about 700 police staff would go into the organised crime squad, something he described as “a massive increase in resource.”

An increase in asset seizures is likely to mean an increase in arrests and probably convictions , and an increase in imprisonments – and the Government will need much more than an extra $100 million over four years house the increasing prisoner numbers.

Remarkable admissions from Police Minister Nash

The Government has already received growing criticism for arrogance unusual this early in a first term, and have been already shown to have ignored or not south advice before making important decisions on a number of occasions.

So Minister of Police Stuart Nash’s brash admissions yesterday in Parliament are remarkable in their arrogance and lack of attention paid to advice.

NZH: Police Minister Stuart Nash admits he didn’t read advice on phasing rollout of new police

Police Minister Stuart Nash has admitted he didn’t read official advice on options for phasing in 1800 new police officers over five years.

The Government says it will deliver 1800 new officers over three years. There are concerns that will put more pressure on the prison system.

Nash was questioned on the advice from police by National’s Chris Bishop in a a parliamentary committee on Thursday. He responded:

“I didn’t read any paper that said phasing in over five years. For me, phasing in over five years was just not an option I was prepared to consider.”

“I don’t read papers like that because there is a coalition promise that I will work to deliver. Any paper, any suggestion, that we are not going to meet our coalition deal of 1800 police over three years, certainly one that suggests its going to take five years, I’m just not even interested in seeing.”

Bishop: “You are kidding? Are you seriously saying to the committee that you received a paper about phasing options for the coalition commitment that you are talking about and you didn’t read it?”

“Not even interested,” Nash responded.

Nash said he had not ignored that advice but preferred police advice over that of Justice and Corrections.

“We get advice from all over the place … you have to make a decision on whether you take that advice or whether you take other advice.

“On the balance of probabilities I’ve taken police advice over Justice and Corrections advice.”

Nash said he “absolutely believed” that more police would reduce crime and the number of people in prison.

This looks like another policy that the Government are pushing rejecting any advice warning of potential issues.

The odds are that some Ministers will end up implementing policies that improve things, but there are also high chances of ignored consequences.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this came up again in Question Time today. (As ‘Albert’ noted this won’t be happening today. It’s Friday – my head was still in Thursday when wrote that).

 

 

 

Nation: 1800 more police staff

On Newshub Nation this morning:

First up on Newshub Nation tomorrow, Police Minister Stuart Nash MP is live in studio to discuss how Labour is going to afford their promised 1800 new officers.

Another interview where when pushed on the costs of increasing police numbers the Minister says ‘wait for the budget’. They must have had an approximate idea of the costs for some time.

Cost of crime to NZ is $9.1 billion, according to a Treasury report from a few years ago, Nash says. But he won’t say how much new spending for policy until the Budget is released.

Says of the promised 1800 new officers, around 1100 will be on the front line.

First police stations to re-open will be in Northland and parts of Auckland, Nash says – he says he would like to see them be opened within six month.

Police Minister refutes Ministry of Justice figures that say 1000 extra cops will push 400 extra inmates into already overcrowded prison.

The short term effect on arrests and imprisonments is difficult to predict, so easy to argue with suggested numbers.

Nash wants to investigate gang affiliated people for benefit fraud – up to 90% of gang members are on the benefit.

“We’re going to take away the ‘sexiness’ of being in a gang”.

Nash is talking tough on gangs, but this is an approach that has kept failing in the past. What will be done differently?

Govt won’t decriminalise meth “I’ll tell you that much,” Nash says, but says meth addicts should not be treated as criminals”.

Another very difficult issue to deal with.

Generally Nash came across well, well informed and well spoken.

Another police chase fatality

Deaths as a consequence of police chases (more accurately as a result of dangerous driving trying to avoid being apprehended) have been contentious. Each incident raises questions over whether police should get involved in chases at all.

More so when an innocent member of the public is a victim, as happened over the weekend.

RNZ: Three dead in Tasman police chase

Police had attempted to stop a vehicle while conducting enquiries to find a wanted person when the driver fled.

The driver crashed into another vehicle while attempting to overtake a truck, police said.

Two people in the fleeing car died along with a member of the public in another car.

Tragic for the innocent victim and their family.

Police said fleeing incidents were “extremely testing”.

“They are fast-moving, unpredictable and high pressure situations that require quick judgements.”

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the crash was a tragedy for the families of those who died, and the officers involved.

He said police were already working with the IPCA on a review of pursuit policies and practices, and he had asked for an update on progress.

The review is due to be completed later this year.

I’m sure the police have reviewed their chase procedures before.

The current review was reported last November: Police pursuits under review as officers report 300 incidents a month

New Zealand Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) have been working together since July to review pursuits.

About nine drivers a day attempted to flee police last year.

Although fleeing driver events represented just 0.1 per cent of vehicle stops each year, police said they were “challenging, dynamic and complex events”.

“Drivers who choose to undertake high-risk driving behaviour when failing to stop for police increase the risk to themselves and the public, including the risk of serious injury or fatality.”

In June, the Police Association sought harsher punishments for fleeing drivers, including taking their cars off them.

I’m not sure that harsher penalties will reduce the number of people attempting to flee the police. I doubt that they pause to consider the possible consequences – or know what the penalties might be. There are obvious risks of crashing and of dying, and that doesn’t deter those who flee.

This is an issue that there is no easy answer to.

Tax Working Group members announced

From the Beehive:


Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the members being appointed to the Government’s Tax Working Group.

“The Tax Working Group has been established to look at the structure, fairness and balance of New Zealand’s tax system. The wide range of expertise and experience among the membership means the Working Group is well placed to consider changes to make our tax system fairer,” Grant Robertson says.

Along with chair Sir Michael Cullen, the Working Group members being appointed are:

  • Professor Craig Elliffe, University of Auckland
  • Joanne Hodge, former tax partner at Bell Gully
  • Kirk Hope, Chief Executive of Business New Zealand
  • Nick Malarao, senior partner at Meredith Connell
  • Geof Nightingale, partner at PwC New Zealand
  • Robin Oliver, former Deputy Commissioner at Inland Revenue
  • Hinerangi Raumati, Chair of Parininihi ki Waitotara Inc
  • Michelle Redington, Head of Group Taxation and Insurance at Air New Zealand
  • Bill Rosenberg, Economist and Director of Policy at the CTU
  • Marjan Van Den Belt, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Sustainability) at Victoria University of Wellington

“We’ve got a good mix of people on the Working Group – from tax experts and academics, to people with private sector, union and Maori community expertise. The Working Group is tasked with looking at how we can make our tax system fairer for all and the diversity in this team makes it well placed to do that,” Stuart Nash says.

The Tax Working Group will also look at how the tax system can promote the long-term sustainability and productivity of the economy.

“New Zealand faces significant opportunities and challenges in the future of our economy. It is prudent to start thinking now about how we respond,” Grant Robertson and Stuart Nash say.

Updates on the Group’s work will be available through its website – taxworkinggroup.govt.nz. Its first meeting is set to be held towards the end of January 2018.