National MP Tau Henare has rejected Maori Party concerns that a police surveillance log, thought to have been compiled during Operation 8, shows police spying on innocent New Zealanders.
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has asked police for answers after obtaining the yet-to-be verified surveillance log, which he says shows police spied on innocent people, including high-profile New Zealanders, and for longer than previously known, in the lead-up to the 2007 raid in Ruatoki.
The controversial raids related to paramilitary training camps operating in Te Urewera National Park and led to 18 arrests and widespread condemnation of police actions.
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall last week appeared in private before the parliamentary Maori affairs select committee, where Flavell questioned him on the veracity of the log, raising concerns about the extent of the spying.
Henare said today that he had since read the report and was "quite satisfied that it is just a surveillance log".
"I think there may be some people making more out of just a normal surveillance log," he said in reference to Flavell.
"It has a log in it where a couple of people approach a politician at a raceday, for goodness sake - that's what surveillance is."
Flavell disputed Henare's depiction of the log.
One of the Operation 8 defendants had since told him the log was one handed to the defence team by police after the raids.
"There is still concern about the information that is on the log... which is bank accounts, surveillance into bank accounts, into phone numbers, into prominent New Zealanders, and I'm talking about MPs and I'm also talking about Maori organisations, so there is still some real concern there with respect to the information that was presented," he said.
Flavell has said it records information such as internet searches and covers a period of three years before Operation 8 and some time after.
New Zealanders who were not associated with Operation 8 were drawn in, "and that's the concern".
"We should be concerned in light of a lot that has been said recently about surveillance on New Zealanders," he said.
"We should be concerned about the fact that police were conducting this sort of stuff back then outside of the range of Operation 8 and that every day New Zealanders are mentioned in the catalogue."
Flavell has refused to reveal who was being watched, but said once the log was verified he hoped to reveal more information about it.
Marshall said last week that he was not concerned about the log but would get back to Flavell once he had seen the log.
"I have no idea what's in the particular document but more than happy to elaborate to him."
He could not yet say whether the document was legitimate.
"It was about people being recorded going to and from addresses. Well, that's not unusual in the course of investigations, so we'll wait and see," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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