Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: When that awful thing happens

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  • Emma Hart,

    It's the most lethal vehicle I've ever set foot in - and the most expensive. Smaller than I thought it would be, too.

    That was the impression I got too. Also, slipping and falling down a companionway hurts like hell. (Fortunately this was on a less than public tour.)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I would agree, but do not think that the LAV was used on civilians.

    To be fair, there was a clip from Friday's Campbell Live that seemed to show firing from the vicinity of the LAV that approached the house, as the vehicle itself came under heavy fire. If so, then the commanding officer's statement that only two shots were fired by police, on the Thursday, would not seem to be correct.

    I'd think this will come out in the wash.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    We wasted a life, hours of policetime, thousands of dollars on a low level drug bust that even if it did go well wouldn't have made one dent on criminal drug activity.He was hardly Mr Asia.

    I don't think we can blame the resulting mess caused by Molenaar's extreme overreaction on the current drug laws. Who's to say the guy wouldn't have gone nuts over something else? Like a pushy Jehovah's Witness at his door?

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Come on this is New Zealand - carpet bombing an entire neighbourhood could help deal with a big chunk of the wool glut - I'm sure there were at least 3 Nat cabinet ministers down there trying to persuade them to load up with carpets the minute they heard it was on

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2176 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Because people had reported activity that seemed to indicate small-time marijuana dealing. Fairly common. Unfortunately, no one had thought to report the paranoid assembly of a military arsenal.

    Perhaps because paranoid people tend to be... well, somewhat more circumspect than penny ante pot dealers? Just wondering...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    To be fair, there was a clip from Friday's Campbell Live that seemed to show firing from the vicinity of the LAV that approached the house, as the vehicle itself came under heavy fire.

    As I'm no longer the military hardware nerd I was when I was 11, someone else can answer this hopefully. Do the LAVs have launchers for tear gas etc? Could that be what was visible?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 244 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Come on this is New Zealand - carpet bombing an entire neighbourhood could help deal with a big chunk of the wool glut - I'm sure there were at least 3 Nat cabinet ministers down there trying to persuade them to load up with carpets the minute they heard it was on

    Have you ever had to lift a roll of carpet? The offender would have been squashed in a second. As would anyone else in the vicinity of the flying fluff-missile. Unacceptable collateral damage.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Do the LAVs have launchers for tear gas etc? Could that be what was visible?

    Yup:

    Multi Barrel Grenade Discharger (MBGD): 8 x 76mm grenade dischargers capable of discharging either smoke or high explosive grenades with an effective range of 60m.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1563 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Apparently Molenaar "smuggled weapons out of the army" when he left the cut-lunch commandoes. If he got automatic weapons that way, that should trigger an urgent inquiry.

    The drug aspect of this seems rather irrelevant. It seems to me that Molenaar was a roided up bomb waiting to go off. The police could have been their to check a complaint about a dog and he would have gone off the deep end.

    Without getting to philosophical about it, guns are at the end of the day are just a tool. A special tool, given they have only one purpose, but a tool none the less. Given their special nature, it is correct that rules and regulations surround their ownership and use. But you can't control society from above with bans and laws. People must consent to follow the rules, and if some nutter doesn't then there is not a lot you can do about it. Molenaar didn't have licence, and had illegal automatic weapons. He wasn't quite your average shooter with an over and under shotgun for ducks and rogue dogs worrying the mob of sheep and a semi-auto .22 for rabbits and possums.

    Oh and Greg O'Conner? How loathsome to start to politicise the shooting to what he perceives to be his advantage before Mr. Snee's body was even recovered.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1811 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As I'm no longer the military hardware nerd I was when I was 11, someone else can answer this hopefully. Do the LAVs have launchers for tear gas etc? Could that be what was visible?

    Actually, that does make sense -- Hoyle told the press that tear gas had been shot into the house on Friday. It did seem unlikely to me that Hoyle would have lied about there only having been two rifle rounds fired.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Hoyle seemed like a really decent guy from what I saw.

    carpet bombing an entire neighbourhood could help deal with a big chunk of the wool glut

    Heh. And be bloody welcome in the chilly south I'd imagine. Heck feel free to strathe Auckland while they're at it. Brrr.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I can't see the point of risking anyone else's life on the basis that an armoured vehicle might unnerve some people.

    I can't see the point in risking anyone's life to retrieve a corpse, when you can just wait and pick it up when the shooting has stopped. But I'm notably unsentimental about the meat.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1660 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    We don't live in a police state, Steve, much as people like to characterise it otherwise. If nobody informs the police of something, they don't know.

    I think one reason for people not communicating their concerns to police is that the police have created a void between the public and themselves.
    The lack of information given by the police to the public on many matters, the lack of interest shown by the police to genuine complaints. Examples of these points abound. The only reason many people report burglaries to the police is to get a reference number for insurance purposes and on many occasions there is no, or little, followup.
    If you call the police, for anything other than an emergency 111 call, you are passed off to a call center somewhere in the country. This creates a separation between the police and the very people the are supposed to serve.
    When I was back in the UK a few years back I was surprised when I called the police to report a lost wallet. I looked up the number of the local police station in the phone book and was talking to the desk sergeant within seconds. After being asked "how can we help you" I was put through to the local lost property office and spoke to an officer who seemed quite concerned.
    The police service in this country seems to be more interested in empire building and technological bells and whistles, dare I mention INCIS?, rather than supporting the public in maintaining a civilised society.
    The most common contact the public has with the police is when a member of the public needs assistance, which is more often than not given little attention, or when they infringe some minor regulation or act and then treated like a criminal.
    The only real solution to this is not more PR it is engagement that is needed here. You know, like making us feel we are on the same side. The police have to realise that the majority of the public are not their enemy.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4896 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Oh, and extra shit points for using Smee's open grave as a bully pulpit to say its time for everyone to have tasers and those who argued differently are stupid cop haters.

    Craig, I didn't hear Greg O'Connor on the radio this morning, but I do take the point everyone is making about the opportunism involved on his part. Not to mention the bad timing.
    But .. what is fundamentally unreasonable about reviewing the event and determining whether the use of tasers could have helped resolve this situation better?

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 662 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Arguing for cannabis law reform off the back of this incident risks being as distateful as Mr O'Connor using it to argue for "more Tasers, faster".

    No, if we do anything with this incident it is at least desirable to understand what happened. O'connor spent the whole day talking
    about how police should be allowed to police which is vague and kind of scary, don't make unfair comparisons.

    You are allowed to ask questions of your law, it's not unusual to look at cause and effect. There are many issues that arisen over this major incident , it's not unreasonable to be concerned at what the police are doing while still recognising a tragic loss.

    And for whatever reasons jan m snapped he was still holding an illegal arsenal, that needs at least adressing too.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Simply making use of military vehicles to do things for which the police lack the equipment isn't a devolution of powers.

    Out of interest, what is considered to be military deployment? I presume we had soliders driving those, so is it the chain of command that triggers the requirement?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Do the LAVs have launchers for tear gas etc? Could that be what was visible?

    Yup:

    Multi Barrel Grenade Discharger (MBGD): 8 x 76mm grenade dischargers capable of discharging either smoke or high explosive grenades with an effective range of 60m.

    Actually, that does make sense -- Hoyle told the press that tear gas had been shot into the house on Friday. It did seem unlikely to me that Hoyle would have lied about there only having been two rifle rounds fired.

    I'd actually be very surprised if the smoke launchers on the LAV's were used to shoot tear gas into or into the vicinity of the house.

    Those launchers are not intended as precision shooters. They consist of short sawn-off barrels pointing in all directions. When used, they fire off smoke canisters in all directions within an arc in front of the vehicle to create a smokescreen for the vehicle to advance or retreat behind.

    Using those would be like throwing an open box of golf balls into the air and expecting some to land in a bucket 10 metres away.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I would just like to be reassured all the right legal boxes were ticked before the army were called in.

    There are none, for something like the use of the LAVs that was undertaken.

    I draw your attention to http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1990/0028/latest/DLM205887.html s9 (4) of the Defence Act 1990. Any use of the military to assist the police requires approval of the PM, and if it is ongoing, Parliament.

    (The incident clearly meets the criteria, BTW, and we'll find out 14:00 Tuesday whether the government ticked all the legal boxes)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1660 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Parliament is sitting, and it's incumbent on the Minister of Police to notify the House immediately if the police will be using military force in resolution of a situation.

    The House had risen for the weekend by the time the military were deployed. The next sitting day is tomorrow.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1660 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    as distateful as Mr O'Connor using it to argue for "more Tasers, faster".

    I'm constantly amazed at how out-of-touch union officials can be when it comes to their responses to tragedies. The NZPFU achieved new lows (even by their standards) when, with SSO Lovell dead less than 12 hours, there appeared on their website a piece with Derek Best (the fire fighters' equivalent of O'Connor) calling for increased numbers of career-manned appliances to be sent to fire alarm activations, with the implication that somehow Tamahere wouldn't have gone as pear-shaped if there had been three appliances, or four, on the string instead of just the two from Hamilton. It disappeared within hours, I hope due to outraged feedback from union members, but that it was there at all was just disgusting. Unseemly haste in making political capital from a tragedy does bad things for the palatability of your message.

    That said, I've been impressed with the fairly moderate utterances from our political figures. I'm sure that'll change, probably once it's known if all the injured will survive, but that things are still seemly from the Beehive is nice.

    And as an aside, I sincerely hope that the injured civilian gets the New Zealand Bravery Star. Reading those citations, his actions definitely qualify.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Out of interest, what is considered to be military deployment?

    A qustion I'm trying to pin down (for a different purpose) myself ATM.

    But in the case of assisting the police, anything at all when there are guns or violence involved. The law is very clear: No part of the Armed Forces shall be used to provide assistance to the civil power when there may be shooting without jumping through the appropriate hoops. The reason being that soldiers make very bad police (as Fiji shows).

    (Looking for bodies and lost trampers isn't covered by this part of the Act; it's just a nice courtesy on their part. But we can't use the army to deal with e.g. an incident of terrorism without the Minister informing Parliament, and I feel a lot safer that way)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1660 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    "Making sure nobody else dies" should not extend privileges to the criminal. Police policy in this case will only embolden more criminals to attempt to "out do" the Napier episode.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But .. what is fundamentally unreasonable about reviewing the event and determining whether the use of tasers could have helped resolve this situation better?

    Well, that's a fair question Carol but I'd make these points:
    1) I don't think this was the time or the place to start relitigating policy, especially at a time O'Connor knows damn well emotions are extremely high. You see, despite the rather paranoid fantasy world he exists in, Police officers are (by international standards) very well respected in this country.

    2) It is fundamentally unreasonable -- and vile -- for O'Connor to be pushing his usual "anyone who criticizes the Police = crim cuddling cop-hater with blood on their hands". That's not advocacy but demagoguery.

    3) And as I understand it, there is an investigation on going. Perhaps understanding would be enhanced by careful consideration of evidence, not half-cut wind-baggery from various parties with political agendas.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I draw your attention to s9 (4) of the Defence Act 1990

    And I draw yours to s9(4)(b)

    that the emergency cannot be dealt with by the Police without the assistance of members of the Armed Forces exercising powers that are available to constables

    Driving a sodding great armoured beast is not exercise of a constable's powers. Using force to achieve resolution of an armed stand-off is. I say again, the LAVs were not utilised in a manner requiring that the House be advised. The soldiers driving them were just drivers, not shooters, based on the available information. Any shots fired from within would've been from AOS/STG, not from the Army.
    Read the whole of s9 and you'll see that merely operating the LAVs to provide an armoured, protective vehicle is clearly under s9(1).

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Nice even handed post Russell. One question I'd like to know more about is the case of Molenaar's being stopped by police a couple of weeks back, and complaining of racism, what exactly happened then? Was the search warrant issued after that event and with any relation? And Was any significant portion of the armoury purchased after that event. The media treatment gave me the impression that this was some kind of grudge execution, by both parties. Well Stuff and Scoop.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1691 posts Report Reply

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