Kiwi Polemicist

September 13, 2008

Who wants the army on the streets of New Zealand?

I support some of the policies of the Family Party (those that are a step in the right direction for classical liberalists), but their latest press release in response to the murder of an undercover policeman on a drugs case is inviting abuse of power by the State.

It is written by Richard Lewis, the party leader and a former police sergeant. In part it says:

The solution: It’s time to draw the line in the sand. Drug dealing is the soft-underbelly of organised crime and that’s where law enforcement needs to aim their sights. Give the police what they need to fight the war on gangs and drugs, which is the people, tools and laws to do it. Partnering police with army could be one way to achieve the numbers and the muscle. After all, this is a war we are fighting in our own back yard. And we’re losing badly. [emphasis added]

This is an extremely dangerous methodology at any time, more so at a time when Samuel Dennis, one of the Family Party candidates, is talking about ominous constitutional changes and Helen Clark seizing more power over the police.

Richard, with respect, you are inviting the government to bring in a police state and this is a dangerous and harebrained proposition. Do you really trust politicians like Helen Clark to have the power to deploy the army against citizens? How long before she is using the army to scare people away from marches protesting against the Electoral Finance Act, or to physically break up a supposed unlawful assembly*?

The police are are now controlled by the Prime Minister, so giving the police more “numbers” and “muscle” is giving the PM more numbers and muscle. As for giving police the “tools and laws to do it” they already have those.

As I said my earlier post, the quickest and simplest way to give gangs a kick in the family jewels is to make drugs legal.


*Unlawful assembly is defined in s86 of the Crimes Act and it is a broad definition: all Helen has to do is put a bunch of her commie friends into the area of a march, provoke a bit of push and shove, then get the commies to say that they fear violence from the protestors. Presto, you have an unlawful assembly. Variations on this technique have been used many times over the course of history.



  1. I understand that Mr Lewis is referring to police being able to access individuals in the army with particular relevant skills when needed, when the police are short staffed. The long-term solution is to get more police – initially we are promising another 1,700 – because the army isn’t trained for police work, they have their own jobs to do, and you don’t want the army roaming the streets targeting civilians.

    But in the short term, when police are short-staffed for a particular operation where some army skills may be of use (say for example a dangerous drug or terrorist bust out in the bush where the gang members are known to be well armed), being able to access some army expertise could be a great help.

    Mr Lewis was not referring to having squads of infantry marching the streets or anything like that, we certainly wouldn’t want that, unfortunately in the brief comment he made he did not have the space to elaborate and explain what he meant so I completely understand that you took it this way.

    Comment by Mr Dennis — September 13, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

  2. Thank you for that clarification Mr Dennis. However, the police are permanently short staffed, and if that is used as an excuse for calling on the army then the army will be permanently assisting the police. The “war” that Mr Lewis refers to is a war which is created by the State, and the emotive language used by Mr Lewis is the same as that used by politicians everywhere to justify the use of force by the State and the curtailment of civil liberties by the State, e.g. “The War on Terror”.

    How will you deliver 1,700 extra police when Labour has struggled to deliver 1,000? If drugs were legalised, as I discussed in an earlier post, there may be no need for more police. Furthermore, increasing police numbers increases the powers of the State.

    Also, you talk about the police accessing ‘individuals’ in the army, then you talk about the army assisting on a ‘bust out in the bush’. It is a reasonable assumption that assisting on a bust in the bush is going to require an army force, not an army individual.

    The army and the police are essentially the same thing – a means for the State to impose its will upon people by force – but the use of the army in a role reserved for police by convention is a characteristic of totalitarianism, and thus is to be avoided at all costs by those who value liberty.

    I stand by my comments: the use of the army for law enforcement is a “line in the sand” that should never be crossed.

    Comment by kiwipolemicist — September 13, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

  3. […] are the police really serving? In my earlier post I spoke about a proposal to get the army to assist the police in dealing with gangs. This proposal […]

    Pingback by Who are the police really serving? « Kiwi Polemicist — September 15, 2008 @ 6:08 am

  4. […] police on the highways of America (Part 1) In earlier posts I have written about a political candidate’s suggestion that the army assist the police in New Zealand, and about the police carrying guns unnecessarily. How long before we see what is happening in the […]

    Pingback by Military police on the highways of America (Part 1) « Kiwi Polemicist — December 20, 2008 @ 11:36 am

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