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Surveillance and monitoring of activists by the state

Undercover police and police use of informants

Informants or undercover police officers can be used to extract information from relationships of trust. Whether they are an activist who has “turned”, or they have worked their way into trusted circles, they can be very disruptive and can lead to the destruction of otherwise positive, productive groups. There is no easy way to identify or approach the matter. Accusations and paranoia can be just as destructive as an actual undercover informant.

Informants may be motivated by a number of factors. Some are paid police staff, others may have been promised immunity for previous crimes and some may believe they are serving an essential role in upholding the law.

What information can informers give to the police?

Evidence Act 2006

Generally, there are no restrictions on who can provide information to the police. So if someone in a group decides to pass information to the police they are free to do so.

However, where informers are asked to give evidence in court, questions about whether the information is fit as evidence can be raised.

Informers are often paid and therefore it could be argued that they have an incentive to provide evidence. Informants will also seek to protect their identity and give evidence anonymously. These factors normally make evidence unusable by police. Other issues to consider are:

  • Unfairness – The case of R v Cameron considered the situation where a defendant made a statement to an undercover police officer regarding previous offending. The court decided that because Cameron had made the statement voluntarily to a person who happened to be a police officer it was not unfair to use it as evidence.
  • Entrapment – If you have been encouraged or incited to offend by the police, the court will look to how the police acted. If they have unreasonably encouraged you, beyond what others in a similar situation may do, then it is possible the court may refuse to admit the evidence.

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Community Law

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Treaty of Waitangi

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This NZ History webpage has information about the Treaty of Waitangi and events and issues surrounding it. The website is run by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Waitangi Tribunal

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This website has information about the Waitangi Tribunal.

To start the Tribunal process of submitting a claim, you can either: call the Tribunal office for queries on (04) 914 3000, or email them at WT.Registrar@justice.govt.nz

Matike Mai Report

www.nwo.org.nz/resources/report-of-matike-mai-aotearoa-the-independent-working-group-on-constitutional-transformation/

Matike Mai Aotearoa is an Independent Working Group dedicated to Constitutional Transformation based on tikanga and kawa in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This report outlines their vision, research and findings.

Human Rights Commission

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The Human Rights Commission was set up in 1977 and works under the Human Rights Act 1993. Their purpose is to promote and protect the human rights of all people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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The UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was set up in 2010 for the purpose of increasing the UN’s commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.

Privacy Commissioner

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The Privacy Commissioner has a wide range of functions, including investigating complaints about breaches of privacy, running education programmes, and examining proposed legislation and how it may affect individual privacy.

Advocacy organisations and support services

Rainbow Youth

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RainbowYOUTH provide a number of services, including advocacy for queer, gender diverse, takatāpui & intersex youth, their friends, whānau and wider communities.

Disabled Persons Assembly NZ

www.dpa.org.nz

Disabled Persons Assembly NZ provides direct support and advocacy, and work in collaboration with others to achieve inclusion for all New Zealanders.

Mental Health Foundation

www.mentalhealth.org.nz

The Mental Health Foundation has useful links and resources for people dealing with mental health issues.

Helplines

www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support/health-care-services/mental-health-services

Police Brutality & Activist Trauma Support and Recovery

medium.com/@jessieden/a-resource-for-activists-working-through-trauma-82a9807712be

The Police Brutality & Activist Trauma Support and Recovery resource is a booklet made by activists for activists, with accessible information on what trauma is, how it affects people, and ideas for supporting yourself and others through it.

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