"We're creating a Police State" - Alfred Ngaro

By Bronson Perich

National MP Alfred Ngaro says that the Government is creating a Police State. He adds that the Government is using fear to take away our Treaty rights and civil liberties.

"We’re creating a Police state. Where, out of fear, we're now gonna add the powers to Police, without warrant, to go into your house, or my whare, or any other person's marae, or home or church, right, out of suspicion," Ngaro says.

That, he says, is why the National Party opposed the Public Health Response Act coming into power last night. He adds, that the act is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi because there is nothing in the treaty that would justify such a law.

"In my view, kawenata is a covenant, that means it's a tapu, a sacred relationship. We've not treated right, both in the past and in the present."

That he says, is why everyone in Parliament has 'blood on [their] our hands', for making this new law. The precedence that this law establishes, he says takes away the trust of the people from the State.

“I think the fact is that they’ve used this thing around the pandemic to give fear into our people, rather than saying ‘actually, you know we trust you’, let’s put in place what we think is really important.”

Although this is a separate issue, the COVID-19 safety measures relating to tangihanga are a prime example. Ngaro questions why 50 people can go to a tangi, yet 100 can go to a bar.

“We have more trust in a publican of a bar, in a gym owner and … also a supermarket and school teachers.

"What’s the difference between 100 and 50? You know I don’t understand that. It’s like a halfway place."

Ngaro expressed that funeral directors should be left to do their business as they see fit.

“Funeral directors, that’s the role of responsibility to look after our people during that time of mourning. They’re just not willing to trust that they would do that.”

The Cook Island MP was asked why he decided to focus on the effects of the new act on Māori. His answer, went back to the treaty partnership between Māori and the Crown.

“If we don’t get this one relationship right, then we don’t get the others right."

He mourned that public submissions weren't heeded when formulating the level two restrictions. Ngaro questioned why it had to take a massive backlash to get the government to lift the tangi restrictions.

He warned that Te Whānau a Apanui plans to disregard tangihanga restrictions were the result of being ignored.