PM accused of double standards over surveillance

By Kate Shuttleworth

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell. File photo / NZPA
Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell. File photo / NZPA

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell says there is a double standard over Prime Minister John Key's treatment of the surveillance of activists and the people of Tuhoe, and Kim Dotcom.

Mr Flavell said it was striking Mr Key had ruled out making an apology to the residents of Ruatoki, but had apologised to Dotcom.

"To me it is striking that the Prime Minister ruled out making an apology to the innocent residents of Ruatoki, saying the lockdown and armed raid on a whole community of Tuhoe people of all ages was justified by police suspicions of terrorism by a few known individuals.

"I can't really see the difference between the two situations. In both cases, the forces of the state clearly got carried away with their cloak-and-dagger activities, exceeded their authority and exaggerated the risks posed by their targets before launching para-military actions against unarmed residents.

"I am pleased the Prime Minister has apologised to Mr Dotcom. I am disappointed he has not apologised to Ngai Tuhoe," he said.

The Search and Surveillance Act which came into being overnight extends production and examination orders to the police and legalises some forms of surveillance.

Mr Flavell said it was a direct response to covert surveillance of suspected criminals in the Urewera bush, which the Supreme Court found to be illegal.

"This legislation was passed to make such surveillance legal in future," said Mr Flavell.

"The legislation comes into force less than a week after the Prime Minister has made a public apology to Kim Dotcom, who was also subject to an illegal armed raid on his family at home, launched on the basis of illegal surveillance."

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