1 Jun 2005

PNG and NZ discuss possible return of NZ police to Bougainville

6:50 pm on 1 June 2005

Talks are underway in Papua New Guinea to try and resolve the issue of immunity from prosecution for New Zealand police working in Bougainville.

The New Zealand contingent pulled out of the province two weeks ago because of a threat to their security and saying the court decision denying Australian police immunity from prosecution under PNG law could affect them.

New Zealand's High Commissioner in Port Moresby, Laurie Markes, says that it's hoped the immunity issue will be resolved quickly.

He says the New Zealanders' case is different to the Australians because they are in a training, rather than a frontline duty role.

"It's really a question of having a degree of legal protection that will allow them to perform their duties free from any outside interference."

Superintendent Tony McLeod from police national headquarters in Wellington is in Port Moresby to discuss the matter with police, lawyers and the minister responsible for Bougainville, Sir Peter Barter.