Tuesday, October 16, 2007


[I make absolutely no apology for only providing links to what I think are the most germaine parts of this story. It is too important for high volume c&p. I leave you to judge the merits of the information provided.]

Seems NZ has hit the headlines as some kind of terrorist state, where quasi-military training camps have been taking students from such sources from eco-terrorist who rescue “rare” snails to the political nutter who makes threats against such persons as Auntie Helen and the Queen (Liz, in case you think it might be Camilla).

I have my skepticism screwed right up high.

First, I listened to Sean Plunkett interview Police Commissioner Broad who managed to say very close to nothing of any import. The strong impression that came over was that there was a fair lump of political influence behind the “anti-terrorism action”. That of course can only mean Auntie Helen is involved somewhere along the line, very possibly at the beginning.

Then I went back and read the Herald report again.

Then I thought hard about the people who had been targeted by the Police in this action…

Tame Iti seems to head everyone’s list in the news world. The best portrayal is this morning’s Herald cartoon. Puts the overall picture into sharp focus. Is Tame a terrorist? The best measure of that is Joe Hawke. He was a terrorist 30 years back; was described so by Muldoon who was PM of the day. He led a group that occupied a piece of land that is one of the most valuable in the central Auckland City. He won. He is now a very highly respected leader of the local iwi; respected by both political and non-political sectors, as a leader with very considerable mana.

The outright maniac - of there is at least one.

The “snail group” in Christchurch. Yes, very embarrassing and awkward politically. A bunch of nuisances on the ground. Not people I can admire other than for their chutzpah. Terrorists? No more than Sonja Davies and her cronies who tried to stop the Nelson railway from being ripped up…

The anti-vivisectionist and anti-battery hens groups. Well they describe themselves as “terrorists”. Perhaps they do deserve what they get. Military hardware and Molotov cocktails is not really their style.

It needs to be said that the area around Taneatua is one place in this country where I would choose not to go. I had (through my father) close association with the Tuhoe community at Te Whaiti which is at the northern end of the Ureweras. I would not hesitate to return to Te Whaiti and Minginui, even though it is over 50 years since we were there. The areas in the northern foothills of the Ureweras are a totally different prospect.

And the area is no stranger to unjustified police action either. Read the story of Te Kooti - who not Tuhoe was able to disappear into the Ureweras after escaping from prison on the Chatham Islands.

Of even greater influence - even as late as the late 1950's - was Rua Kenana. Of all of the links, this is one of the most interesting...

During WWI he was harassed by the police and in a moment of anger he said the Germans would win. This was the moment the Pakeha were waiting for. Rua and 31 others were arrested for sedition during which shots were exchanged between police and his followers. His oldest son Toko and Toko's maternal uncle Te Maipi were killed. A jury found Rua not guilty of sedition and only "morally" guilty of resisting arrest.

I do have, have had for some long while, concerns about some of the more hot-headed of the Maori separatist groups and their leadership. Tame might fall into this category but recent events such as his non-showing at Waitangi this year and last could indicate he is cooling off the ardour somewhat. The concerns do not rank in terms of “potential military conflict”. The very big danger that they pose is that they will alienate the greater part of the Maori people who for the most part are prepared to work through the system rather than by force of arms. Judging by the very narrow path being trodden by the Maori Party, Pita Sharples and Taniana Turia in particular, that fear exists within the Maori community as well.

It will be most interesting this weekend to quietly tap into the feeling of the locals up at Opo. Ngapuhi have been showing two faces – very much depending upon who is talking – for some while now. The Ngawha Prison fiasco did nothing to calm the waters either…

And this is what it is all about -
The Terrorism Suppression Act 2002

* the law makes it a criminal offence to take part in, finance or recruit for a terrorist organisation or terrorist act;

* planning a terrorist act, or making a "credible threat", is also illegal even if it is not carried out;

* unlike other countries the law does not give police additional powers of arrest or detainment;

* the Attorney-General must give the green light to any prosecutions under the Act, but Michael Cullen has delegated this responsibility to Solicitor-General David Collins;

* under the Act groups can be listed as a designated terrorist entity, but so far no local groups have been designated. Those that have been listed are United Nations designated groups.

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