Police commit to work with iwi, marae regarding Public Health Response

By Kereama Wright

NZ Police will work closely with marae and iwi to implement the Covid-19 Public Health Response.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says, "I absolutely understand the concerns about marae. I can assure iwi and Māori that we will only ever, use our powers in a situation where it's absolutely essential," he says.

Under the Public Health Response Act, Police will have the ability to enter any private dwellinghouse, cars, properties including marae without a warrant.

"The only time that I can imagine it being used necessary to use the powers would be if a marae committee lost control of the marae, such that they were asking police to intervene to assist," says Commissioner Coster.

But some iwi are firmly reminding Police that iwi will enforce their own rules on their marae.

Commissioner Coster says a lot has been learnt by Police following Operation 8 and their approach now is to work first through Iwi Liaison Officers who've built relationships with iwi.

He also says that the success of iwi response with the establishment of community checkpoints nationwide was a demonstration of how iwi and Police can work well together.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said today the Bill will be referred back to the Select Committee.