NZ Police conduct review finds just 6 counts of excessive force despite thousands of complaints from parliament protest

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The IPCA report, titled “The Review: Policing of the Protest and Occupation at Parliament 2022,” investigated 1905 complaints regarding the police response to the significant demonstration against the Labour government led by then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The large protests, dubbed an ‘occupation’ by NZ media, signalled the beginning of the end of Ardern’s government, with her resigning as PM in January 2023 and Labour’s subsequent electoral defeat.

While NZ Police faced strong criticism, the IPCA determined only six instances of excessive force during the events of February 10, when police attempted to clear Parliament grounds.

Three cases justified the use of force, two found it excessive, and one couldn’t make a finding.

During the 2022 Wellington protest, Labour minister Michael Wood referred to the protest as a “river of filth” and claimed that protesters were motivated by violence, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.

Deputy Commissioner Jevon McSkimming acknowledged the challenging circumstances, claiming:

“They were faced with a level of violence and vitriol that we have never before experienced in New Zealand.”

McSkimming praised the ‘exemplary work’ of the majority of officers but admitted to ‘isolated incidents’ where the police “didn’t get it right.”

The IPCA affirmed its commitment to transparency, promising summaries of each complaint on their website.



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