20 May 2009

Police Minister rejects UN appeal over tasers

8:23 pm on 20 May 2009

The New Zealand Government on Wednesday rejected a claim by the United Nations that officers using taser stun guns are torturing people.

The Committee Against Torture is calling on the Government to stop the use of tasers in its five-yearly report on New Zealand's compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture.

The committee says tasers constitute a form of torture.

At present, 44 tasers which can deliver 50,000 volts, are being used in four regions of New Zealand.

The Green Party says the Government should heed the UN's advice and get legal advice on the use of tasers.

However, Police Minister Judith Collins says she disagrees with the UN's comments and does not believe tasers are a torture device.

Ms Collins says tasers will not be withdrawn and are only used to protect the public and police.

The Mental Health Foundation says it is disppointed the Government will not re-examine taser use in the light of the UN's comments.