8 Jun 2005

New Zealand police set to return to Bougainville

1:51 pm on 8 June 2005

The five-person New Zealand police team is to return to the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville tomorrow morning.

The team has been training community police in the province, but left three weeks ago after concerns about security and questions over their immunity status in the wake of a court ruling that Australian officers in PNG did not have immunity.

The New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG, Laurie Markes, says they are satisfied there are no longer security threats and have also been assured that elements within the PNG Constitution give the New Zealanders the legal cover they want.

"Following the visit here by Superintendent McLeod last week, and the various discussions he had, New Zealand Police and indeed, the Ministers involved, are satisfied that what we have been able to arrive at is adequate for their purposes."

Mr Markes says this cover includes some degree of immunity, which he says would depend on the circumstances.