Monday, May 11, 2009


An election. An opposition candidate is systematically harassed and repeatedly arrested for daring to present an alternative point of view. We expect to see these stories from places like Belarus, Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan. But its happening right here in Mount Albert:

Police continued their interference in the Mt Albert by-election by arresting ALCP candidate Dakta Green for the fourth time in a fortnight. ALCP believe that Police are persecuting Dakta Green because of his political position. ALCP wrote to the NZ Police asking for an explanation for their continued harassment of Dakta Green. No response was forthcoming.

Dakta Green was again arrested at 11pm on Friday night. NORML's Cannabus was entered illegally and Dakta Green was assaulted and shoved to the ground before police identified themselves. Dakta Green was processed for 6 hours before being allowed to rest in the cells. Police have continually tried to oppose bail for Dakta Green. Thankfully the court system and Justices of the Peace have seen Dakta Green for what he is, a political activist not a criminal, and granted him bail.

This is a gross interference in the political process, and it should stop. It is not a crime to advocate cannabis reform, and it is not a crime to stand for election on a political platform the police don't like. Unfortunately, some of them don't seem to see it that way. They need to be reminded - forcefully - that we live in a democracy, and it is the people, not the police, who are the judges of political acceptability. And if the police don't like that, they should be looking for work elsewhere. There is no place in our democracy for this sort of political harassment.