Green Party overjoyed at police decision to dump Armed Response Teams

Co-leader Marama Davidson says it's reason to celebrate.
Co-leader Marama Davidson says it's reason to celebrate. Photo credit: RNZ/Newshub Nation

The Green Party is celebrating after it was announced Armed Response Teams (ARTs) will no longer be a part of New Zealand's police.

On Tuesday Police Commissioner Andrew Coster announced the ARTs will be disbanded as a result of pushback from the community. 

"It is clear to me these response teams do not align with the style of policing that New Zealanders expect," he said.

The decision is reason to celebrate, says Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson.

"We pushed for it, and we got it. The decision of police to rule out the increased use of Armed Response Teams will mean our communities are better off."

Davidson says the response to the ARTs trial showed people of colour did not feel safe with armed police patrolling.

ActionStation surveyed 1155 Māori and Pasifika people and found 85 percent of those surveyed did not support the trial going ahead, 87 percent felt less safe knowing there were armed police in their community and 91 percent would not call the police for help if they knew they had guns on them. 

"We commend the New Zealand Police for listening to the public outcry during and after the ART trials. They have listened to the community, and made the right call," says Davidson.

Justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman says the Greens will continue to advocate for the marginalised.

"The Green Party will continue to raise the voices and experiences of our marginalised communities in Government, so we are all protected and free from discrimination." she said on Tuesday.

ACT leader David Seymour has also come out in support of the decision, telling Newshub New Zealand's police are "a point of pride".

"New Zealand police officers are some of the best in the world and are unarmed - the real question is why police thought this was a good idea."