A police officer has rebuffed a statement by Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar which congratulated police for shooting and killing a man.
McVicar took to Facebook yesterday to praise police after the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old east Auckland man after a police chase on State Highway 1 near Pohuehue yesterday morning.
His post read: "One less to clog the prisons! Congratulations to the New Zealand Police, our thoughts are with the officer who was forced to take this action to protect the public."
The post has received much criticism, with commenters saying McVicar should be ashamed of himself and his comment was "totally inappropriate".
The charity founder has also taken flak from a police officer, who replied to McVicar's post saying, "I am a policeman here in NZ. The NZ Police are not big game hunters, shooting a human being is never a time to congratulate anybody.
"His family will be grieving, and the officers involved will be going through a very tough time also - this isn't a good time for anybody and certainly isn't a cause for celebration.
"I know I speak for every cop that I know when I say that we would always prefer to take someone into custody peacefully and without anyone getting hurt, or even better, to not have to arrest anybody in the first place.
"Your congratulations are entirely unwelcome and repugnant, and I doubt you'd find a single police officer in NZ who would accept them. I need a shower."
The officer told the Herald he wanted to make it clear to McVicar his stance was not one held by NZ Police and the fatal shooting was not something to celebrate.
NZ Police said they would not provide comment on the post.
The officer's reply is one of more than 40 that criticised McVicar's post. Only a few support his message.
A New Plymouth man contacted the Herald to voice his disgust at the post.
"My daughter was a victim of a horrific crime so I find Garth McVicar's statement to be abhorrent and I believe the Sensible Sentencing Trust should have its charitable status reassessed because of these comments.
"I am appalled that a fellow New Zealander has these opinions and the support he has received on his page is really scary," he said.
One poster said: "I respect the police but there's no cause to rejoice at the death".
Another wrote: "The use of deadly force unfortunately is sometimes necessary/required but to suggest it should be 'congratulated' is appalling - especially given we as yet have no idea as to the facts of the case / circumstances of the individual involved whose family who are no doubt mourning his death."
A few commenters supported McVicar's message, stating "bloody good call" and that police had "saved the hard working taxpayer thousands of dollars".
McVicar told the Herald he was happy his Facebook comment had caused debate on the issue.
"As an organisation that is leading the debate on crime and victims in this country, I think it is up to us to give out on these issues," he said.
"It is time as a nation that we spark a debate about why we have these problems in society. If me being provocative sparks that debate, then great, I am happy to wear the brunt of that."
He said he felt sorry for the police officers that had to take this action.
"Police had to make a decision based on the fact they were faced with a guy with a machete and a police officer could have lost his life. They don't take it lightly and they have to live with the consequences.
"I am pleased it wasn't a police officer who lost his life," he said.
A Department of Internal Affairs spokesman said it had not received any official complaints.
"But if it were to receive one we would go through our standard process of assessing to see if there were any grounds under the Charities Act to undertake an investigation," he said.
*You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an official complaint to the Department of Internal Affairs.