Police: cosying up to tyrants, ignoring NZ law

I’ve already written about the slow and painful efforts to get Police to reveal details of the visiting professorship they had allowed one of their senior officers to take up at the PRC People’s Public Security University (the university of the Ministry of Public Security).

The day after the belated Police response finally arrived, a reader sent me a link to another example of the New Zealand Police cosying up to the regime in Beijing.  Here was the whole of my initial post:

A reader sent me the link, and this is what Google Translate generates:

Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau and New Zealand Oakland Police Department signed a friendly cooperation arrangement
Source: Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government Foreign Affairs Office published:2019-05-05 17:51

guang 1.png

guang 3.png

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the conclusion of the international friendship city relationship between Guangzhou and Auckland, and to strengthen the police cooperation between the two cities, Yang Jianghua, deputy mayor of Guangzhou and director of the Municipal Public Security Bureau, and the assistant police chief of the Auckland City Police Department of New Zealand on April 29 Lena Hassan ( Naila Hassan ) signed a “friendship and cooperation with the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau Auckland, New Zealand Police to arrange the book” in the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau. It is reported that this is the first time that the Guangzhou police and foreign police have signed a cooperation intention, which indicates that the law enforcement agencies of the two places will formally cooperate in police exchanges and police training.

“Police exchanges” with the Guangzhou branch of the Ministry of Public Security………..  Surely this cannot mean that MPS officers will be let loose with law enforcement powers in New Zealand?  Surely…..

I looked on the Auckland police website, I looked at the Minister of Police’s website, and I looked at the main Police news releases page, and there was nothing about this deal.

I wonder if Police, or their Minister, were ever planning on telling New Zealand citizens and voters about their deal with the PRC domestic repression apparatus?

Yesterday, I mentioned the Gestapo, but one doesn’t need to invoke (quite valid) Nazi comparisons with the People’s Republic of China.   Would Police – or elected governments – have thought such friendship and exchange deals were appropriate with the domestic security forces of the Soviet Union, or Pinochet’s Chile, with Galtieri’s Argentina, with apartheid South Africa, or……or…..or……

It just should not be.  And it clearly isn’t the case that this is just normal stuff (“everyone does it”) –  it is the PRC side that stresses that this is the first such arrangement for Guangzhou.

I’m not fond of the phrase “social licence”, but if it must be used this is an example of how government agencies –  allegedly working for our interests –  risk forfeiting theirs.

I will be lodging an OIA requesting details of this agreement.

And so I did, on 8 May.   I asked Police for

1. Text (in English and – if it exists – Chinese) of the recent agreement signed between the Guangzhou bureau of public security and the Auckland police district.  

Copies of

2. Any advice re the agreement to the Minister (and/or his office)

3. Any consultation with other government agencies on it.

4. Any internal position papers evaluating the possibility of this agreement, including any risks, and pros and cons.

And I had an acknowledgement of my request the next day.  So far, so proper.

I heard nothing more for a couple of weeks and then I had this from Police in Auckland.

Good Morning  

We have received your request for information

Before we can process this request we require some form of photo ID.  The best is a photo of your driver’s licence and a photo of you holding your licence.

Now, I’ve been using the Official Information Act for years and had never had such a request.  In fact, Police has responsed to my earlier OIA just a few days previously (very slowly but) without asking for photo ID.  Apparently, agencies are allowed to check that someone is entitled to make a request, but Police by then had my address, my phone number, and I’m in the telephone book (and readily Google-able).

Anyway, I went back to them and asked them for the statutory basis for their request, noting that Police had responded to earlier requests without photo ID.  I heard nothing more.

A few days later (27 May), I had a letter from a Senior Sergeant in Auckland, extending my request by a couple of weeks (beyond the statutory 20 working days), to 18 June.  He claimed they needed the additional time because of the “consultation we need to do on your request”.  That extension was probably lawful (albeit only because it looks as though it had taken almost 20 (calendar) days for anyone Police to really look at the substance of the request).

And then on 20 June, I had another letter for Senior Sergeant Housley (who is the Auckland District Police OIA co-ordinator), this time extending the request to 18 July, citing the need for “further consultation”.      That argument was already wearing thin, but what really bothered me was that it is against the law to extend OIA requests if the extension is made after the statutory 20 working days has passed.  The Ombudsman has been quite explicitly clear on that.

Nothing in the OIA prevents multiple extensions being made, providing any extensions are made within the original 20 working day time period after receiving the request. For example, if an agency notifies the requester of a one week extension, and then later realises that a two week extension is actually necessary, a second extension may be notified as long as the original 20 working day time period has not yet passed.

In this case, not only had the 20 working days passed when the second extension was made but so had the deadline on the first extension.  I went back to Senior Sergeant Housley and pointed out that his extension was unlawful, but (unsurprisingly) I got no response.

This morning, I finally had a letter from Senior Sergeant Housley substantively responding to my request, politely thanking me for my “patience”.   And what little they released –  and, in fact, what little they held, gives the lie to the claim that “consultations” and “further consultations” were necessary.   All they released was the text of the agreement (see below), the substance of which the PRC side had been boasting of two months ago, and all they withheld was advice from MFAT on the wording of the agreement (which can’t have been very long, and which I never expected them to release –  standard OIA exceptions: my interest had been mostly in seeing who, if anyone, had been consulted.   I have now lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman about (a) the unlawful second extension, and (b) the dubious claims about “consultation” and (especially) “further consultation”.  But this is the Police…….in a well-functioning system, you’d hope a Police force would fall over itself to act lawfully, spirit and letter.  Then again, I guess this is modern New Zealand, where complying with the law seems like an optional extra for too many public agencies.

What of the substance?  Here is the agreement itself (Chinese and English), and Mr Housley’s letter.

Letter of Friendship Between Auckland Police and Guangzhou

Letter Mr Reddell July 2019

There are a few things of note in the (short) agreement itself (and any Chinese-speaking readers might like to check that the Chinese version says the same as the English version, both of which are signed).

First, it is pretty clear that the initiative for this must have come from the PRC side.   The first version of the agreement is in Chinese, and the English version is clearly a not-particularly-colloquial version/translation (“Based on joint benefits and laws in both countries, the two participants accept to exchange…” is clearly not something written by a native English speaker).

It is pretty easy to see what is in it for the PRC.  They have whole webs of organisations and agreeements designed to tie people, institutions, and countries more closely to their odious regime, lending a (hitherto) good name to one that should be held in very low esteem.  And New Zealand has clearly been a soft touch, and so (recall the initial release) the Auckland Police will have made a good place to start for a first such agreeement.

But what on earth is in it for New Zealanders?   Police officers hot-footed it to Guangzhou –  presumably at taxpayers’ expense –  to do the kowtow and sign up to an agreement that dignifies the repressive law enforcements mechanisms of the PRC as somehow akin to a Police force in a (hitherto) free, open and democratic society.  To what end, other than the typically craven approach of the New Zealand “establishment” –  more deals, more party donations, improved electoral prospects for Phil Goff?

Second, the substance, such as it is

guangzhou

It is a simple question really that Police make no attempt to answer: what benefits will the New Zealand Police –  supposedly responsible, via ministers, to the New Zealand public gain from their cooperation and exchanges with Guangzhou, a force that acts to enforce the will of the CCP (and where presumably no officer can serve if they are suspected at all of sympathies with –  say –  Christianity, Islam, Falun Gong, let alone the rule of law and democracy).  This force operates just over the border from Hong Kong, where civil liberties have already been jeopardised, aided and abetted by the Police.  Won’t all the senior officials the Auckland Police delegation were pandering to likely be CCP members?

And what of the letter I got from Police?

Among the things I found interesting is that there was no advice at all of this agreement to the offices of the Minister of Police or the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  I suppose most likely Police simply anticipated the preferences of our politicians –  after all, last week Ron Mark was signing up to a defence agreement with the PRC (quite extraordinary: we sign a defence agreement with a country that openly talks of seizing a free and democratic country by force).

Perhaps more worrying –  but perhaps not surprising, given the widespread Wellington view of Police competence and capability –  is that I was told there was no position paper or similar reviewing pros and cons, risks and opportunities etc that an agreement with the odious PRC forces might entail.   So what happened?  Did Guangzhou Police simply take someone in Auckland to lunch and sweet talk them into flying over to sign up?  It can’t quite have been that bad surely, but this simply isn’t proper or prudent policymaking.

But then they made up a rationale on the fly.  Recall that none of this was documented before the agreement was signed, it was simply in a letter to me dated today.

There is no formal ‘position paper’ in existence evaluating the possibility or the ‘pros and cons’ of the Letter. However the Police position is that 2019 will mark the 30th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Guangzhou and Auckland – Auckland’s longest standing and most successful sub-national partnership in China.

This relationship has been significantly strengthened as a result of the Tripartite Economic Alliance that was signed in 2014 between Auckland, Guangzhou and Los Angeles. The relationship between the cities goes back to the time of the gold rush in New Zealand, when many Chinese came across to New Zealand with a significant number finally settling in Auckland. Latest statistics indicating that up to one in three greater Aucklanders are likely to identify as Asian by 2038. Close transport connections (twice daily direct flights between the cities), the immense trade and significant crime connections make the relationship between Guangzhou and Auckland crucial to both cities. Other areas Police would benefit from this relationship include, training, narcotics and economic crime investigations.

In summary this is an extension to the sister city relationship. With the proposed growth in the Asian population in Tamaki Makaurau over the next two decades this letter of friendship will enhance the relationship and benefit both Guangzhou Public Security Bureau and Tamaki Makaurau Police as it will present opportunities for each of us to learn from our colleagues.

Much of which is simply weird.   We have a national Police force, not (unlike, say, the UK system) a city-based one.  What is the national Police force doing signing up agreeements with odious foreign forces to support the sister-city partnership signed up by some elected local body politicians?   Recall, that the current Auckland mayor substantially funded his last campaign with large anonymous “donations” including from an auction of works of Xi Jinping.  Goff was one of those who nominated the CCP-aligned Yikun Zhang for a royal honour, for what amounted in effect to services to Beijing.   This agreement has the feel of something that the Mayor’s office will have liked.  Perhaps it will help with this year’s fundraising?

And what about all that puffery about the Gold Rush?  We had German immigrants back to the 19th century and it didn’t make the first Labour government any keener on dealing with the Gestapo.   Perhaps the Senior Sergeant and his bosses didn’t notice that whatever the “Asian” share of the population 20 years hence, “Asia” is not the same as the PRC, not even all immigrant ethnic Chinese come from the PRC, and many who did come want to be free of the clutches and mindset of the PRC.  The PRC –  not China, but the PRC/CCP –  is a threat more than an opportunity, at least to anyone with a modicum of integrity and morality.

And, once again, what does the Auckland wing of the New Zealand Police think they are going to learn about policing from their friends in Guangzhou?  Whatever it is, seems unlikely to be in the best interests of New Zealanders.

There is a level at which it is tempting to just ignore these things.  Individually, I don’t suppose the agreement means very much.   Bad as Police are in many respects, they aren’t quite yet the Guangzhou bureau of public security, and this agreement is isolation won’t change that much.  But it all speaks of a mindset in which our establishment agencies and individuals seem to have lost any real sense of right and wrong, of fundamental decency, and recognising odious regimes when they see them.   Yes, there need to be basic, formally correct, relations with the PRC, as with a bunch of other dreadful regimes, but we simply shouldn’t be signing friendship agreements, declaring ourselves “strategic partners”, of offering to help make their dreadful regime even more effective in what it seeks to do.  Do our leaders –  politicians and Police – really live by any values other than deals, donations, and the bonhomie (and self-delusion) that goes with cosying up to such a regime?  Not on the evidence of agreements like this.

Oh, and the Official Information Act really does apply to Police to.  Our Police –  unlike China’s – are supposed to be subject to the law, not subject to the Party.

 

31 thoughts on “Police: cosying up to tyrants, ignoring NZ law

  1. Will the mainstream media pick up on this, I wonder… Probably not. They would see any criticism of China’s repressive policies as somehow criticising Chinese immigrants here, which would make the whole topic racist, in their minds…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our largest export destination is now China. With farmers begging for a survivable price for meat and milk and companies like Yilin prepared to offer guaranteed profitable prices for farmers. It is hard to see how the government is going to tell farmers to chuck China out because of some moral wrong doing.

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      • I don’t suppose anyone is suggested a trade boycott, but basic trade is a very different thing to cosying up thru agreements, deals, ministerial visits etc. Products trade on a global market, and what PRC buyers don’t buy here they buy elsewhere. Those other sellers can’t service other markets with what they now sell to the PRC.

        But, yes, any action requires courage, integrity, a moral core, a willingness to look beyond tomorrow. None of those qualities characterise either main party when it comes to the PRC.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Without all that cosying up and buddy buddy relationships, we would have those signed Free Trade Agreements that gives us market access. Our products would be subject to tariffs and duties on entry. At least China reciprocates our friendship overtures with a FTA. We have been friends with the US forever and we do not even have a FTA with the US.

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      • …”some moral wrong doing”

        We can all imagine what your position would have been on trade relationships with Nazi Germany if this was 1935.

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      • Whose not to say that if the NZ Police had been more involved with the Nazi regime in its early formation that perhaps we would have tempered or eliminated the worst in the subsequent behaviour of Nazi Germany. Sometimes friends can say things and be heard.

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  2. The ludicrous outlawing , arresting and jailing members of the public is an abuse of police privilege for viewing a video although in extremely bad taste should not breach a jail threshold offence. That rang alarm bells for me that our Jacinda Ardern has stepped over the line into the makings of a fascist dictator.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for exposing this Michael. We are becoming seriously unmoored from our civilisational roots. Comparisons with other odious regimes are entirely appropriate and should embarrass our political leadership.

    And where is our MSM? Too busy promoting climate change emergencies and other puffery to notice.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. People making the argument about trade tend to forget a few basic facts. Firstly, trade occurs because both parties benefit from the exchange. China is NOT doing us a favour buying our much needed dairy products, timber, meat, wool and horticultural products, not to mention our education and tourism services. And secondly, our exports are predominantly commodities that trade on a global market at globally set prices. China may decide not to buy our skim milk powder but then they’ll have to buy European or Australian powder – at the same price – and we will sell into other markets.

    The complete lack of any basic understanding of economics by the people we have working for us beggars belief. Some of them are, quite simply, fools and clowns.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Except that Chinese companies like Yilin are taking it a step further with guaranteed 10 years profitable milk prices removing the pain and suffering that many farmers struggle with in even keeping their farms above water being subject to decimated market prices.

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      • They have paid over the top for the company and now offer over the top prices for milk. Do you think they are doing this for the welfare of the farmer. It will be interesting to see how things pan out after the initial contract is over. I fear they will be more than happy to collapse prices and pick up bankrupt farms to close the loop on the dairy industry. All they need now is to use their new position to ensure the demise of Fonterra and they will be free to rampage.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Those prices are guaranteed for 10 years so I guess we will see the Chinese rampage after 10 years. But because we do have a OIA approval process which will block chinese land purchases it is more likely the farms would be picked up by cash flush Maori Iwi with the annual $400 million, the British Crown(oh sorry the NZ government) will hand over for Waitangi Treaty settlements.

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    • That is entirely correct in a capitalist society. However China is not a capitalist society. China is a centralised state that consistently acts in its own best interests, short and long term. China’s trade policy follows its political policy. If China wants to influence a foreign state being able to damage that country’s trade is a good way to go. Extreme versions are trade sanctions but there are more subtle ways of exerting power.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Trade is not a out favours
      Countries enter into trade agreements assessing the benefits to themselves, not that of the other party.

      Sort of like if I want to buy a car, I make a decision on whether or not I will benefit from the car, not whether or not the sellers imperatives, that is for the seller to consider

      Now whether or not new Zealand benefitted from the chain trade, all the data shows that it has, the FTA seeing us through the world financial crisis, compared to other developed countries which experienced double digit unemployment

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  5. China signs up to these sorts of things not to gain influence through committing New Zealand to anything in particular. Rather they are just looking to be accepted by the rest of the world as a legitimate and normal state and this kind of thing bolsters their narrative. Signing an agreement with law enforcement in one of the world’s most fashionably liberal countries looks good for them.

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  6. I despair

    Just another example of our law-makers and law-enforcers busy hiding the action under the carpet and treating the plebs like mushrooms

    Still waiting for the government enquiry into the Ruakaka Kauri saga

    Sep 22, 2017 – This story about kauri diggers and fuel crisis got spiked. …. of all directorships to do with Ruakaka Kauri (formerly Oravida Kauri) on July 1.

    The missing story on Collins and the fuel pipe fiasco | The Standard
    https://thestandard.org.nz/the-missing-story-on-collins-and-the-fuel-pipe-fiasco/

    Liked by 2 people

  7. So many seem to either be unaware of, or pretend not to see, the price attached to being wined and dined by the Chinese. Favours are deemed owed and will be collected at some point. Failure to supply the favour requested is considered an insult and is punished. I was involved in a reverse play while working in China. The local mayor was visiting London on a trade mission. We set up a special event for his off day, which proved the highlight of his trip. We were later asked how he could repay us. On pointing out some customs problems we were continually suffering, he simply said he would look into it. Problem solved.

    That the police are setting themselves up to be in a position to owe favours to a foreign country shows, at very best, an amazing level of naivety. At worst they just don’t care, although they seem to care enough to not want to make it public.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I think the NZ Police are simply naive with regard the schemes of the Chinese Communist Party. This really is a “photo opportunity” for the Chinese Police and one that gives it international credibility at a time when the crack down on the Uigher population 10 years ago has been in the news, (at least outside NZ media).
    The fact is there is no benefit of substance from getting cosy with Chinese Police and some potential risks if PRC Police officers start arriving at NZ Police stations, working at NZ Police computers or driving around in squad cars. Quite simply we can’t trust the regime or it’s officers. There values and goals are not ours.

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    • Hong Kong has decided to back down on the Extradition Treaty with China after all that protests by the locals. I was expecting another Tiananmen Square massacre but looks like China wants to be at least be seen internationally as opting for a more diplomatic peaceful solution rather than brute force.

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      • If the Springbok tour back in the days when our police did back the apartheid south African regime as a measuring stick I rather think if our NZ police was in charge in Hong Kong, it probably would have got rather violently ugly. Our police would not have tolerated the nonsense the Hong Kong public got up to.

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    • Bad things happened in China post 1949. But far far more good things happened.

      While the Great Leap Forward was a setback —mainly due to a US embargo, and appalling weather, the mortality rates of the time were around those of India’s and other developing countries of the time. The mortality rates fell relative to the stunning gains in life expectancy during the first decade of the PRC. But they were average by developing world standards.

      During the years of the Cultural Revolution, life expectancy rose by 10 years.
      https://tinyurl.com/y2jye7b3

      In the overall analysis the Chinese communist party has saved more lives than any other political movement in history. As this Yale study shows: China’s growth in life expectancy between 1950 and 1980 ranks as among the most rapid sustained increases in documented global history.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4331212/

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      • Given that we spend $900 million a year on Oranga Tamariki ie forcibly stripping children from their mothers, bad things are still happening in NZ today each and every year.

        Like

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