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Time for a real Police Tribunal?

Written By: - Date published: 4:30 am, October 31st, 2014 - 21 comments
Categories: activism, police - Tags: ,

Yesterday the “Independent” Police Conduct Authority released its report into the conduct of Police during the 2012 mass arrest of students at the “Blockade the Budget” protest. In the “About the Authority” section near the bottom the report claims that the IPCA is similar to a court:

Being independent means that the Authority makes its own findings based on the facts and the law. It does not answer to the Police, the Government or anyone else over those findings. In this way, its independence is similar to that of a Court.

The two main things that distinguish the IPCA from a tribunal or court is that it is not bound by precedent and there is no right of appeal. Those two things are the biggest incentive for a court or tribunal to be very careful in their interpretation of fact and law.

The IPCA is chaired by a Judge and appears to have a purpose consistent with that of a court:

On completion of an investigation, the Authority must form an opinion on whether any Police conduct, policy, practice or procedure (which was the subject of the complaint) was contrary to law, unreasonable, unjustified, unfair, or undesirable. The Authority may make recommendations to the Commissioner.

It would be really interesting to see how a report like this would stand up to scrutiny by the higher courts. In that respect I wonder if it’s time for the IPCA to be turned into a real tribunal.

In the weeks after the Blockade the Budget protest I wrote two posts here at The Standard. My first post theorised that the police intentions were to incite a riot (I stand by this after reading the report). My second post included a video showing a Police Liaison Officer speaking to protest organisers 10 minutes before the march. I urge you to read both of those posts and then read the IPCA report.

Lack of perspective and independence

In a court decision, where there is conflicting evidence, it is standard for both sides of the conflicting evidence to be quoted or at least summarised, and then for the judge to justify why he/she has preferred, or found more credible, one piece of evidence over another. That is just one way that a court attempts to display transparency and allow scrutiny of their decision making process. This report does not do that.

There are 8 italicized quotes from police (paragraphs [12] [14] [27] [30] [31] [44] [46] and [53]) and none from any other perspective (unless you include a list of chants at the protests in paragraph [60]).

The main narrative and perspective throughout the IPCA report is from a police perspective. Further the report consistently speaks for or on behalf of the police with the use of language such as “police felt”, “police aimed”, “police wanted” and “police considered”. The language used to introduce the police perspective is telling when compared with the language used to introduce the demonstrators’ perspective. For example the three most common ways to introduce the police perspective were “police said”, “police told the authority” and “police reported”. Meanwhile the three most common ways to introduce the demonstrators perspective were “demonstrators complained”, “demonstrators claimed” and “demonstrators alleged”. The differences are subtle but telling.

Police perspective:

  • police felt [13] [19]
  • police aimed [20] [43]
  • police took into account [20]
  • police were unaware [28]
  • police did not know [33]
  • police were unable [37]
  • police told the Authority [15] [29] [30] [39] [40] [45] [46] [55] [62] [63] [71] [114] [129] [150] [160]
  • police said [32] [38] [43] [44] [49] [64] [65] [67] [68] [70] [71] [122] [129] [130] [133] [134] [135] [139] [151] [157] [165]
  • police acknowledged [31] [161]
  • police told them (the demonstrators) [44]
  • police viewed [20]
  • police wanted [43] [113]
  • police decided [43] [68] [123] [131]
  • police believed [45] [64] [132]
  • police reported [50] [51] [52] [65] [121] [128] [143] [174]
  • police denied [59]
  • police identified [66]
  • police gave instructions [66]
  • police deduced [69]
  • police stated [113] [130]
  • police accepted [135] [176]
  • police considered [136]
  • police were mindful [162]
  • police advised [172] [174] [175] [177] [178]
  • police informed [178]

Demonstrators perspective:

  • demonstrators alleged [4] [57] [111] [149]
  • demonstrators advised [16] [136]
  • demonstrators told the authority [18]
  • demonstrators claimed [47] [58] [73] [76] [79] [125]
  • demonstrators complained [73] [77] [109] [119] [125] [138] [153] [164]
  • demonstrators questioned why [110]
  • demonstrators believed [112]

The findings

The only issue I am going to address is that of whether the police were justified in their use of force and mass arrests. The other issues in the report (such as police not displaying identification, refusal of the right to speak with a lawyer after arrest, and whether the force was brutal or excessive) are not unimportant however this post is already long enough.

[115] The demonstrators did not advise the Police or Auckland City Council of their intentions during either demonstration.

The IPCA is relying solely (as far as I can tell) on Police evidence to support this finding. Nowhere in the report is there even a suggestion that this fact is in dispute.

[34] As a result of this uncertainty, a liaison of ficer (Officer C), a sergeant, was appointed to communicate with the demonstrators during the protest in an attempt to find out what their plans entailed and the route they were to take.

[36] Officer A tasked Officer C to make contact with the demonstration leaders to try to find out what their plan was and the intended route.

[37] However, after trying to engage with the leaders for about 10 minutes, Officer C was unable to get any information on the demonstrators’ intentions.

Apparently the IPCA’s investigation was quite broad and included interviews with 19 protesters and an “examination and analysis of YouTube video”. Maybe none of the protesters gave a differing view. Maybe it was just an accident that the YouTube analysis missed any video that ran counter to the Police version of events. The video (and transcript) I mentioned earlier show the protest organisers speaking very clearly with the Police Liaison Officer about their intentions.

[106] The Authority’s investigation included:

  • a visit to the scene at Symonds Street and surrounding area;
  • interviews with key Police staff who were involved with the incident;
  • interviews with 19 of the complainants;
  • consideration of the Police and complainants’ recordings of events;
  • examination and analysis of YouTube video and TV news footage; and
  • independent examination and analysis of all evidence in the Police investigation file.

Funnily enough the protesters’ intentions (to block the road but only if they had the numbers) at the beginning of the protest aligned quite nicely with what Officer B (second in charge) told the IPCA the police intentions were:

[29] Officer B told the Authority that it was his intention to allow a protest to occur, with Police escorting them to their destination. He said depending on numbers he would allow them to use one lane of the road, or if the demonstrators numbered into the hundreds, to occupy the whole road.

[118] The Authority is satisfied that the Police helped the demonstration proceed peacefully until the actions of the demonstrators, in sitting and blocking part of Symonds Street, required more active policing.

This finding is directly contradicted in the report itself where it acknowledges that right from the start of the march the Police started trying to push the protesters off the road and onto the footpath.

[41] At approximately 3pm the group of demonstrators, which by this stage numbered over a hundred, began to move from the University library east onto Alfred Street and then south down Symonds Street. This section of Symonds Street has two lanes in each direction. As the demonstrators moved off they began to move into the two south bound lanes which created some minor traffic disruption. Officer A instructed Police to help clear the road by channelling the demonstrators onto the footpath while Officer B, at the same time, was giving instructions to the demonstrators to move onto the footpath using the loud-hailer.

[42] In an effort to prevent the demonstrators from taking over more of the road, Police officers in the March Group walked alongside them and, at the same time, attempted to move them towards the footpath. Although the demonstrators became quite compact they were spread over a distance of 50 to 80 metres.

[43] After walking a short distance along Symonds Street the demonstrators responded to a person in the group saying “sit down, sit down” and they collectively sat down in the middle of the two southbound lanes, blocking one lane. At that time Officer A decided to place officers at the front of the group so that efforts could be made to talk to the perceived organisers to help identify their intentions. Officer A said that at this stage, the aim of Police was to allow the group to demonstrate in a safe manner but that Police wanted to move the demonstrators onto the footpath.

[44] He also told them that they could protest peacefully on the footpath but they could not stay on the road.

Pushing the protesters off the road right from the start of the march is at odds with Officer B’s evidence that the police intentions were to allow the protesters to march up the road if they had the numbers. Officer B stated that numbers “in the hundreds” would warrant taking over both lanes. The report contains some contradictions in the count of protesters but it’s pretty clear that the numbers were “in the hundreds”:

[41] At approximately 3pm the group of demonstrators, which by this stage numbered over a hundred…

[42] Although the demonstrators became quite compact they were spread over a distance of 50 to 80 metres.

[70] Officer A said that around 200-300 demonstrators went to the Police station which caused it to go into ‘lock-down’.

The most conservative estimate of numbers by the police is over a hundred from the start of the march (surely enough to warrant marching up at least one lane of the road). The Police evidence that when the protesters became “quite compact” they were still “spread over a distance of 50 to 80 metres. That suggests at least a couple of hundred people. Officer A then states that there were 200-300 demonstrators protesting at the Police Station and that was after 43 of them had been arrested!

[150] In response to complaints that Police dictated where the demonstrators could or could not go, Police told the Authority that as they did not know the demonstrators’ intentions they had to follow where they went rather than lead them.

Another assertion that the Police did not know the protesters’ intentions. Apparently trying to push the protesters off the road was not dictating “where the demonstrators could or could not go”!

The IPCA believes that trying to push protesters off the road is “helping the demonstration proceed peacefully”.

[146] It was only when the demonstrators sat down and blocked the southbound lanes of Symonds Street, causing obstruction and traffic disruption, that the Police took action against them.

It is the view of the IPCA that trying to push the protesters off the road was not taking action against them. The protesters claim that the call to sit down was in response to the police trying to get them off the road. Strangely, despite 19 interviews with protesters, the IPCA didn’t include one comment on the opposing view in their report.

[45] Officers A and B told the Authority that before any information could be gained on the intention of the demonstration, they all stood up and again began to move south along Symonds Street. Officers A and B both told the Authority that when this happened, they believed that the demonstrators intended to repeat the disruption to traffic of 24 May.

[46] The group continued to walk for about 80 to 100 metres south along Symonds Street before sitting down in the road again, blocking one side of the road (see map). Officer A told the Authority that he thought that this second sit down meant that the demonstrators were even “more likely to go into a major intersection and repeat what they had on 24 May and with the associated disruption”.

An alternative finding, at least an opposing view to consider, is that the protesters sat down again because they were concerned about police moves to try and get them off the road. It is much easier to defend your position sitting down.

[158] The Authority is satisfied that Police acted in accordance with policy in carrying out the arrests. Warnings were given prior to arrests in accordance with legislation. Although three out of the four people arrested were discharged without conviction and the other had his case dismissed when they appeared in Court, the Authority is satisfied that the Police did not make unnecessary arrests.

The IPCA report makes brief mention of the arrest of protest leaders post the mass arrests on the road but doesn’t even attempt to consider this when making their finding that the Police did not make unnecessary arrests:

[66] However, after a short distance the demonstrators turned around, returning to a grass bank area near the Symonds Street intersection with Grafton Road. At this point Police identified key leaders as “rarking up” the group and encouraging non-compliance with Police and disorder. Officer A gave instructions for these few people to be arrested, with the hope that if these individuals were removed the group would lose its leadership and disperse.

Protest leaders “Rarking up” the group was suggesting that the protesters continue their march up the road and assert their right to protest.

No reference to precedent

The IPCA report makes reference to the Summary Offences Act 1981 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. Its legal analysis goes no further than noting a few sections from each of these pieces of legislation and then making vague statements about balancing the two. I suspect a 2nd year law student (maybe even 1st year?) would fail an essay with legal analysis as poor as that in the report. There is absolutely no mention of any legal precedent or case law.

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act was passed 9 years after the Summary Offences Act. Even pre-1990 however there is plenty of legal precedent weighing up the right to protest with offences under other legislation. In the last few years there have been a number of decisions in the Supreme Court, notably Morse v Police and Brooker v Police, that have offered further clarity around the balancing exercise between the right to protest and public order.

That the IPCA didn’t even see fit to address the precedents and how their findings are consistent with them is appalling. A decision by the “Independent Police Conduct Authority” that determines “whether any Police conduct, policy, practice or procedure (which was the subject of the complaint) was contrary to law, unreasonable, unjustified, unfair, or undesirable” sets its own precedent. This is the standard that the police hold themselves to. The police will use this decision as justification for their actions. Future Police actions and policies will be influenced by this decision.

Do we want to live in a country where our right to protest and limits on that are set by the highest courts in the land or do we want it set by Police? Do we want predictability and consistency around the right to protest or do we want the Police to be able to decide arbitrarily when it is or isn’t ok to march up the road?

Media Coverage

My final thought is concern that the IPCA is taken seriously. Its reports carry a false sense of authority, independence and finality. This is clearly showing just in the news headlines from yesterday after the report was released:

  • Stuff.co.nz: ‘Blockade the Budget’ protest cops cleared
  • NZ Herald: Police cleared over Blockade the Budget protest
  • Radio NZ: police cleared of protest brutality

21 comments on “Time for a real Police Tribunal?”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Norightturn keeps an extensive list of police quasi-corruption, illegal actions and lies that have never been punished. My impression is the number of serious illegal incidents involving police officers is accelerating as it becomes clearer and clearer that in the current media/political environment they can operate with near impunity. History tells us that when a police force thinks itself above the law and immune to consequences it becomes, very rapidly, a corrupt, deep state, organisation.

    For the sake of the best traditions of our police force, and for our democracy, the introduction of proper oversight by a new and more critical police tribunal is of the utmost importance.

  2. philj 2

    The law is an ass. But is it the best ass we can afford?

    • Squirrel 2.1

      If we can devote courtrooms to dealing with minor crimes like shoplifting and burglary then I think we can devote some resources to holding the police accountable for their actions.

      Also it’s not as if this investigation and decision were free. It just fails to take account of any of the relevant caselaw and is internally inconsistent.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Well written Rocky, great research for people to consider. Those with some real life experience of the plods readily consider them bent but facts like these assist making the case to others.

    And some want to openly arm the blue bellies!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      Yes , its to Blips usual high standard.

      A suggestion, you should write to the Chair of IPCA listing your concerns as detailed above, especially noting the discrepancies.
      You never know, they could revise their report ( as happens with court judgements from appeal courts, but done on the sly)

  4. Minarch 4

    IMO the IPCA should be staffed by CITIZENS on a “jury service” type of system

    and we should make the police wear body-cams for the safety of the public

    • Tiger Mountain 4.1

      Agree on cams, they cannot be trusted with the “Peruvian marching powder” or more than a spot of dak in evidence lock ups so why trust them on anything else?

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Well, that seems to show that the IPCA is no more independent of the police than a boil.

    • adam 5.1

      No Draco, a boil has more independance.

      I think it has gone beyond time the police were radically and fundamentally changed. If you’re of a social democratic bent.

      1. Power unto themselves.
      2. Not above political interference.
      3. Inability to bring certain cases to court – Other systemic failures at PSP (Police Prosecution Service) – DIre need for independent Prosecution Service.
      4. Militarisation of a civilian organisation, is at the least, unreasonable.
      5. The IPCA is a joke – Need real/court type powers – So it has independence and teeth.

      None of the above will change, police have become the handmaidens of the corporate elects. They are fast becoming alienated from society at large, and don’t seem to want to stem that tide. I always hoped the good people in the police would win out, in reality the meretricious crowd are winning.

      • Murray Rawshark 5.1.1

        The pressure put on any “good guys” by the standard cops is immense. Everyone either adapts or leaves. It’s not quite “Your force, love it or leave it” but it’s pretty close. The absence of any real consequences for a lot of the crook stuff they do is a real impediment to fixing anything.

  6. Minarch 6

    Citizens need to start holding the police accountable,

    like they did in Ferguson Missouri

  7. greywarshark 7

    First thought after seeing heading – Yes indeed.

    Minarch – link to that case in Ferguson Missouri?

  8. Tracey 8

    why does it take them so longer to report? a more cynical soul than i might think it puts enough distance between the event and their conclusion that the public dont give a shit…

    • Tracey 8.1

      given cops are required to document events immediately, and video was available, the only delay should be collecting other witness statements, protestors and bystanders…

  9. Lan 9

    Experience of trivial commercial IT case that went on so long ..about 3 years .. everyone including judge seemed to have forgotten what it was about – same with Police Conduct Authority..meanwhile case started, and concluded, in the Disputes Tribunal where mediator (?) now a judge just said “Extraordinary” and finally closed the combatant down with an order to write a (small) cheque! One would have thought these expensive spurious poorly researched events would improve practice but it seems not so.

  10. Minarch 10

    I Find it odd that the police seem to be perfectly capable of fitting OTHER people up for crimes they “didnt commit” like Arthur Alan Thompson and a long list of others

    so why not the roast busters ?

    • Murray Rawshark 10.1

      Ummm…I don’t think that’s really a path they should follow, but you put a smile on my dial anyway. 🙂

  11. Sable 11

    If you have a corrupt government you can not expect the instruments of that government to be used honestly…

  12. Richard Christie 12

    Curruthers appointment has been a great disappointment for those with an interest in accountability and justice.

    Long ago it became apparent that he is of the same cut as D Fisher and K McDonald.

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  • Letter to a friend
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
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  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
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  • Rāhui day 3
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    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
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  • A test of civil society.
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    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
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  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
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    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
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    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
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    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We are not America
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
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    7 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
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    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
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  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
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    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
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    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago

  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
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    3 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
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    7 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
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    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
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    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago