Operation Convoy - Full Disclosure.

A.Basham made this Official Information request to New Zealand Police

Currently waiting for a response from New Zealand Police, they must respond promptly and normally no later than (details and exceptions).

From: A.Basham

Dear New Zealand Police,

Under the OIA I request the following information;

1. A full disclosure of all official information related to Operation Convoy from its inception up until the date of this letter being the 28th of December 2022, and then until the date of your response. This information should include but not be limited to; Reports, memos, letters, notes, advice and emails, materials like; tape recordings, videos or computer records, and any internal policies or guidelines relied upon for decision making in relation to the Convoy and Protests/Occupation of Parliament grounds in Wellington.

2. A full disclosure of any/all official information in relation to the Convoy and Protests/Occupation of Parliament grounds in Wellington, from the 1st of February 2022 until the 1st of April 2022. This information should include but not be limited to; Reports, memos, letters, notes, advice and emails, materials like; tape recordings, videos or computer records, and any internal policies or guidelines relied upon for decision making.

I understand that information and documents in relation to point 1 and 2 have been compiled for disclosure in a number of court cases that relate to this matter, as such I would expect a timely response.

3. From my understanding there has been documents released to members of New Zealand Media, namely; Stuff, NZ Herald and 1 News. I request that all of the documents that have been released to the media in relation to the Convoy and Protests/Occupation of Parliament grounds in Wellington be sent to me asap.

The articles relevant to point 3 are as follows, to provide context: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/revealed-p...

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/police-spe...

Yours faithfully,

Ashlee Basham

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From: Ministerial Services
New Zealand Police

The Police Ministerial Services mailbox will not be monitored between 24
December 2022 - 5 January 2023.

 

For emergencies, please contact 111.

 

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From: Ministerial Services
New Zealand Police

Tēnā koe Ashlee

I acknowledge receipt of your Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) request below, received by Police on 28 December 2022.

Your reference number is IR-01-23-213.

Please note, as per section 2 of the OIA, the three weeks between 25 December 2022 and 15 January 2023 do not count as working days. You can expect a response to your request on or before 13 February 2023 unless an extension is needed.

Ngā mihi
Sophie
Ministerial Services
Police National Headquarters

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From: Ministerial Services
New Zealand Police


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Kia ora Ashlee

 

I refer to your request of 28 December 2022 under the Official Information
Act 1982 (OIA), for:

 

1. A full disclosure of all official information related to Operation
Convoy from its inception up until the date of this letter being the 28th
of December 2022, and then until the date of your response. This
information should include but not be limited to; Reports, memos, letters,
notes, advice and emails, materials like; tape recordings, videos or
computer records, and any internal policies or guidelines relied upon for
decision making in relation to the Convoy and Protests/Occupation of
Parliament grounds in Wellington.

 

2. A full disclosure of any/all official information in relation to the
Convoy and Protests/Occupation of Parliament grounds in Wellington, from
the 1st of February 2022 until the 1st of April 2022. This information
should include but not be limited to; Reports, memos, letters, notes,
advice and emails, materials like; tape recordings, videos or computer
records, and any internal policies or guidelines relied upon for decision
making.

 

I understand that information and documents in relation to point 1 and 2
have been compiled for disclosure in a number of court cases that relate
to this matter, as such I would expect a timely response.

 

3. From my understanding there has been documents released to members of
New Zealand Media, namely; Stuff, NZ Herald and 1 News. I request that all
of the documents that have been released to the media in relation to the
Convoy and Protests/Occupation of Parliament grounds in Wellington be sent
to me asap.

 

Regarding parts 1 and 2 of your request, it is important to note that the
Police response to the 23 day Parliament protest in February/March 2022
was a substantial operation, involving hundreds of officers in frontline
roles, and additional support staff. Given the broad nature of your
request for “all official information” relating to Operation Convoy and/or
the Protest, the volume of correspondence and documents within scope of
these parts of your request certainly runs into many thousands of items.

 

I therefore invite you to refine your request. You may wish, for example,
to narrow the time frame further and/or further specify the types of
information you are interested in.

 

If you do not refine these parts of your request it is likely Police will
have to refuse them under s 18(f) of the OIA, as the information requested
cannot be made available without substantial collation or research.

 

If you do refine you request you should note that where the information
requested tends to go to the heart of the matters that are under
investigation and review by the IPCA Police is likely to withhold that
information pursuant to s 9(2)(ba)(ii) of the OIA, until such time as the
IPCA has reported.  

 

If you could respond on this point by end of day Wednesday 25 January that
would be greatly appreciated.

 

Regarding part 3 of your request, I can advise that Police has proactively
released anonymised copies of the majority of its responses to OIA
requests relating to the Parliament protest, including all responses to
media requests where information was released. These requests are
categorised by topic, and are publicly available here:
[1]https://www.police.govt.nz/about-us/publ...

 

Kind regards

 

Tobias Vandenberg

Senior Advisor | Ministerial Services | Police National Headquarters

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From: A.Basham

Dear Ministerial Services - Tobias Vandenberg,

Thank you for your response dated the 16th of January, 2023.

I have been struggling to send my response to you and have finally noticed it will not send due to the character size so my response will need to be read in two parts. First part as follows.

I can respect the fact that my request requires a large collation of documents and that this can seem to be an arduous task, however in light of the impact of the operation I do consider this necessary.

Nevertheless, I will refine my request so that specifics can be drawn upon, I will also provide some context as to assist you with processing my request.

1. The convoy, in which Operation Convoy was initiated for, had been advertised for a couple of weeks prior to its launch on the 6th of February, 2022. This would have one assume that the Police were already aware of, and potentially advised of, the convoy and its intentions. As such my request is as follows:

a. On what date was Operation Convoy initiated?
b. By who was this Operation initiated?
c. Who requested/commanded for this Operation to be initiated?
d. What was the purpose of this Operation?
e. I request any and all communications, notes, documentation, meeting notes/minutes and meeting dates/times, parties and persons involved, and all other relevant information/material pertaining to the inception and initiation of Operation Convoy.

2. On Tuesday the 8th of February, 2022, at around 6am, I chose to invoke the Wellington Police on behalf of convoy organisers (I was nominated to do so) and requested their assistance with the protest that was to occur later on in the day on Parliament Grounds, as an end result to the Convoy that was making its way from both Bluff in the South Island and Cape Reinga in the North Island. As a result the Police did turn up and a mutual relationship was formed in order to keep the protest lawful and safe. The Police response seemed, to me, to be delayed by a few hours and only when numbers increased, and a subsequent phone call by myself was made, did Police turn up. As such my request is as follows:

a. I request any and all communications, notes, documentation, meeting notes/minutes and meeting dates/times, parties and persons involved, and all other relevant information/material pertaining to the invoking of the Wellington Police, their decisions, planning and orders on the day of the 8th of February, 2022.

3. During the day of the 8th of February, 2022, I had extensive communications with the Wellington Police and the team they had deployed. By working together we minimised as much chaos as could be achieved. The Police assisted with notifying me of vehicles in risk of being towed or having further action being taken, they also assisted with ensuring Police presence was active and by purposely preventing escalation with intimidating numbers, and by wearing security or plain clothes outfits. I assisted the Police in updating them on the progress of the day, handling their requests and negotiating the best I could within the powers I held in my personal capacity. Towards the end of the day a communication breakdown occurred between the crowd of protesters and the MC that was in place to help the flow of the day and make any and all announcements required. The Police had contacted myself and requested that vehicles that were blocking the roads, or parked in inconvenient places, be moved a few inches towards the curb or moved out of the way to ensure all people, vehicles, and the likes, who were needing to return home either from work in the vicinity or to their homes in the vicinity. After relaying this information to the MC he subsequently chose to inform the protesters that they were to leave and come back on the 19th on February for another protest. This statement/request shifted the energy of the protesters to one filled with anger. Due to some of the "Freedom Movement" influencers who took over the mic the crowd was subdued and the situation was de-escalated.

Then on Wednesday the 9th of February, 2022, I had not received any communications from the Police as expected. What I instead witnessed was the MC who had caused the issues on the previous day was now clearly in direct communication with the Police, as he was calling vehicle registration numbers over the microphone and requesting they move their vehicles. This type of communication was previously through myself and actioned by myself in order to minimise public disapproval of Police services and communications. During the day of the 9th of February there seemed to be an ever increasing police presence, increasing escalation and 3 arrests made. A such my request is as follows:

a. As the MC in question is a Pastor of Destiny Church, I ask for any and all communications between this Pastor, Destiny Church, The Freedom and Rights Coalition and the Police, or any and all communications that directly relate to the involvement of this Pastor, Destiny Church and The Freedom and Rights Coalition.
b. Who made the decision to change the point of contact and negotiation from Convoy Organisers to this Pastor?
c. Who was the officer in contact with this Pastor?
d. Why was the decision made for contact to change from Convoy Organisers to this Pastor?
e. I request any and all communications, notes, documentation, meeting notes/minutes and meeting dates/times, parties and persons involved, and all other relevant information/material pertaining to my statements in point 3 and questions therein listed above (a-d).

4. On Thursday the 10th of February, 2022. Police action was in full force. I missed a phone call from the Police at around 11am. I was not present on the grounds. At around 1pm I called the Police back and spoke to a Sergeant on the ground involved in the Police operation. I expressed my disgust in their actions as I had been sent videos of the chaos that was ensuing. I asked why the chain of contact set up initially was broken and why they had refused to contact me until now. The sergeant was unable to answer my line of questioning and stated he was only told to contact me and was unsure of other orders. The sergeant requested that I assist in the negotiation of having the tents either lowered or removed. I requested that the Police back off and allow negotiation to occur as while people are being actively arrested and "attacked" there was no room for negotiation. I advised the sergeant that I would do my best to get to Parliament Grounds, to which took numerous hours. After the phone call with the Sergeant the Police action did not cease, in fact further unsuccessful operations were performed. As such my request is as follows:

a. Who was the sergeant that I spoke to on the 10th of February?
b. Who ordered for the sergeant to contact me on the 10th of February?
c. Why was the sergeant ordered to contact myself on the 10th of February?
d. Why did the Police continue to attempt to remove tents and structures off of Parliament grounds even after speaking with me, and if negotiation was needed?
e. I request any and all communications, notes, documentation, meeting notes/minutes and meeting dates/times, parties and persons involved, and all other relevant information/material pertaining to my statements in point 4 and questions therein listed above (a-d).

....TBC

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From: A.Basham

Dear Ministerial Services - Tobias,

Please see part 2 of my response below.

5. From documentation that I have seen, I am aware that on the 9th of February Trevor Mallard, the Speaker of the House at the time of the protest, had requested the Police to “accompany parliamentary staff who hold a designation as occupier of the parliamentary precincts while they deliver the trespass notices”. This request was in the form of a letter. This request was then translated into an email on the 9th of February by a Detective Sergeant who stated that Trevor Mallard had “requested that all tents and structures which have been erected are to be removed now”, if tents and structures were not removed Police were to close Parliament grounds, leaving those remaining on Parliament grounds open to trespass and arrest. This email request I believe was then actioned on the 10th of February. As such my request is as follows:



a. Could you please confirm that the Police first carried out the initial request from Trevor Mallard before the email from the Detective Sergeant was actioned?

b. Could you please advise as to the policies and procedures that the Police have in place in regards to trespass notices?

c. Could you please advise if these policies and procedures cover protest situations and specifically in public places such as Parliament grounds.

d. Could you please advise as to why the Police prioritised actioning the request of Trevor Mallard rather than maintaining their communication and negotiations with convoy organisers, and protesters?

e. Who made the decision to prioritise the request from Trevor Mallard?

f. Could you please advise as to the policies and procedures that the Police have in place in regards to these types of situations and what the best practice would be?

g. Did the Police seek any legal advise before actioning any requests from Trevor Mallard? 
h. I request any and all communications, notes, documentation, meeting notes/minutes and meeting dates/times, parties and persons involved, and all other relevant information/material pertaining to my statements in point 5 and questions therein listed above (a-g).


6. On 16th February, 2022, after speaking to a sergeant involved in negotiations over the phone, I received an email from this sergeant stipulating that their goal is “to ensure a peaceful and lawful protest takes place and that all persons remain safe.” This email also outlined what the Police needed in order for this to happen and offered terms for negotiation. When speaking with the sergeants and officers involved in the negotiations, they always confirmed and affirmed our rights to protest, and always insisted on keeping the protest lawful and safe. This was also the goals of the convoy organisers and of the protesters. However the actions of the Police always seemed to show the opposite of what their words were stating and promising. As I am sure you can understand that this is confusing, as such I request the following;



a. Were there two different teams deployed the handle the protest situation? One team deployed for behalf of the protesters and one team deployed of behalf of Trevor mallard? 

b. If so, could you please advise as to why this occurred?

c. If not, can you please advise as to why the information the officers contacting convoy organisers was so contrast to the actions of those on the ground?

d. I request any and all communications, notes, documentation, meeting notes/minutes and meeting dates/times, parties and persons involved, and all other relevant information/material pertaining to my statements in point 6 and questions therein listed above (a-c).


7. Early in morning on the 21st of February the Police conducted an operation in which 100s of concrete barriers were installed around Parliament grounds. In my conversations with police I was informed that a meeting had taken place around midday on the 20th of February, 2022, about these concrete barriers. Certain “influencers” at the protest had been invited to this meeting, however I was also advised by the Police that convoy organisers had not been invited nor had they been advised about this meeting. As such my request is as follows;



a. Why were convoy organisers not contacted and invited to attend this meeting?

b. Who made the decision to hold this meeting?

c. Why was this meeting held, and what was its purpose?

d. I request any and all communications, notes, documentation, meeting notes/minutes and meeting dates/times, parties and persons involved, and all other relevant information/material pertaining to my statements in point 7 and questions therein listed above (a-c).



I believe the above 7 matters are the most pertinent at this moment in time. I understand an IPCA complaint is underway and that the report is due out at the end of March, I also understand that there have been numerous OIA requests that have been rejected due to this report being conducted. However I would like to point out that regardless of the IPCA report the information and documentation in relation to this matter, and the matters listed above, is still a matter of public interest and still subject to the OIA. 



I would also like to note that there have been articles about the convoy recently updated by the media with information released from the Disinformation Project. This information implies that certain individuals were the cause of the breakdown in communication and shift in power from convoy organisers to other influencers. From what I personally know this could not have happened without the assistance of the Police directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly. 



I require the all the information listed above so that I may be able to better understand the complexity of the matter and decide whether or not this matter needs to be further pursued beyond the IPCA. 



I thank you in advance for your assistance. 



Yours sincerely,

A.Basham

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