“The Government has rejected a secret forum’s recommendation that 10 women who alleged sexual misconduct by police officers get reparation.
A letter obtained by The Dominion Post reveals the forum chairwoman, Wellington lawyer Rachael Brown, recommended that the Government pay “financial redress” for alleged misconduct by police officers.”
So, the government appointed a forum to decide whether its agents had abused the powers it gave them and whether it should compensate the victims. The forum concluded they had and it should. And what did the Key government do?
“the Cabinet has ignored the recommendation… Attorney-General Chris Finlayson and the Cabinet had “seriously considered” reparation but decided against it because they believed it was not clear that it was the Government’s responsibility or duty,”
Odd that the Government would decide that given that the investigation that commissioned found “the effect of the alleged misconduct could not be underestimated” and recommended compensation.
The government’s forum decided that it had a moral duty to pay compensation because its agents had been allowed to breach the sacred trust that those women, that all of us, put in the Police. The payment was to be ex gratia – ie not out of legal responsibility for the damage caused, but a moral duty to put things right.
So where’s the government’s reasoning to overrule that, to say that there is no moral obligation?
Nowhere. It doesn’t exist.
Finlayson has resorted to legalistic talk, ignoring that this is an issue of the Crown’s moral responsibility to appoint good people as agents and adequately monitor and control them.
Sadly, I think this is just the Nats being cheap and unwilling to face their responsibilities. They don’t care about the victims of police abuse, they care about saving a few dollars to pay for tax cuts.