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So, who guards the guardians?

Opinion Piece

The legacy of the Christchurch massacre for the victims? Most of us cannot truly comprehend.

The legacy for New Zealanders per se? Well, that’s a debatable issue.

Commissioner Mike Bush tells us that the profile of armed police is a response to a terror threat alert which is at a high level.

Two heavily armed police have patrolled a dairy shop complex in Pt England where the local population is overwhelmingly Polynesian. Hundreds of kids walk past these officers, on their way to Tamaki College.

This police profile of vigilance is not far from the gymnasium I and many denizens of St Heliers and Kohimarama attend, so there is a double whammy so to speak: Police can impress the white population too.

Question is: To whom is this belated display of overaction to a one-off lunatic, a reassuring initiative by our guardians?

How often have we viewed, on foreign fields, excessive displays of armed police wandering the streets after a terror event? As I recall, the UK has been very strong on this sort of “show the public how vigilant we are” after the event.

In recent blogs I have confined my contribution to the question of who is to blame for the massacre.

Based on my experience as a former detective, AOS cop and former inspector in charge of Auckland Criminal Intelligence Section and VIP security, it is my opinion that the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) in particular and to a lesser extent, police CIS (Criminal Intelligence Section) in New Zealand and police in Australia, have much to explain.

As the dust of that horrific event begins to settle, my concern is that bureaucrats who should have been aware of Tarrant but either were not, or were and did nothing, must be held accountable.

What concerns me now is that our guardians will make a play for more and more oppressive powers. They will try (and probably succeed in many instances) to convince the more addlepated among our elected representatives, that the way to prevent another Christchurch is to give them more power.

This is a false flag. As Voltaire wrote: Beware of the words “internal security”, for they are the eternal cry of the oppressor.

This is a great danger to the rights New Zealanders have enshrined in various pieces of legislation and convention.

In my view, our guardians failed and the level of failure is one of negligence. We don’t fix that with more power bequeathed to foolish people.

Ross Meurant spent 21 years in the police force, was a Member of Parliament (1987–1996) and is now a trustee and managing director of absentee Russian-owned forestry and commercial property, including in Gisborne.