Main Menu
Human Trafficking
Street Children

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                              

New Zealand

Citizens and noncitizen residents have legal recourse to seek redress for physical harm. Prison conditions generally meet international standards, though some are poorly equipped to house detainees with disabilities or mental health problems. 

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]


Description: Description: NewZealand

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in New Zealand.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: New Zealand

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 29 July 2021]


Watchdog groups highlighted overcrowding; inadequate mental health treatment and treatment of prisoners who risked self-harm; excessive restraint, including the abuse of solitary confinement; and prisoner-on-prisoner violence as systemic problems in prisons and detention facilities. Both the government and civil society groups highlighted the disproportionate rates of incarceration of indigenous peoples (see section 6, Indigenous People).

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 18 May 2020]


Citizens and noncitizen residents have legal recourse to seek redress for physical harm. Prison conditions generally meet international standards, though some are poorly equipped to house detainees with disabilities or mental health problems.

Lawyer defends prisoner awarded payout over 'torture'

Newstalk ZB Staff, 12 September 2018

[accessed 13 September 2018]

A man who allegedly was sarcastic when asking for extra days in solitary confinement, then received it, has just won a $10,000 payout from the Government.

Prisoner John Vogel was placed in solitary confinement for 21 days in 2000 - six days longer than legally allowed.

The UN Committee Against Torture ruled Vogel's human rights had been breached.

Ellis says it was absolutely wrong of them to put someone with a mental health illness in solitary confinement.

18 Cases of Torture in Chiapas to Be Presented to UN Rapporteur

Isaín Mandujano, Proceso, La Jornada: Matilde Pérez U., May 1, 2014

[accessed 2 May 2014]

Frayba has documented at least 18 cases of torture from March 2013 to March 2014. Of these, 15 were reported by men-one of them a minor- and 3 by women. According to the Center, at least 2 of the tortured people died in municipal prisons in Tapachula and Acala. The first was Carlos Alberto Trujillo Ramos, 48 years old, and the second was Rolando Pérez Cruiz, 21.

Other torture cases, according to Frayba, are that of Gabriel Domínguez Escobedo, arrested and tortured to death by 13 members of the Special Police of the Attorney General of Justice of the State of Chiapas (PGJ), and that of Miguel Ángel Rosette García, whom members of the same unit tortured in 2011 for the alleged robbery of the Orantes Constanzo family, the owner of the second-division soccer team, Guerreros [Warriors] de Chiapas. Audentino García Villafuerte and brothers Andrés and Josué López Hernández, were tortured in the prisons of Bochil, Huixtla, and Pichucalco, respectively, forcing them to plead guilty to a crime they didn’t commit.

On April 15th, Fraya said that in Chiapas, the practice of torture continues, including sophisticated methods to make people testify without leaving marks on the body. The tests have been obtained with the implementation of the Istanbul Protocol carried out by doctors and psychologists who are experts in the field.

The documented information “confirms the recurrence of torture as a method of criminal investigation, used by local, state, and federal police forces, as well as members of the Army and Navy,” said the organization.

Ombudsman's Special Investigation into management of prisoner Arthur Taylor in Auckland Prison, New Zealand

Adacaod, 2014

[accessed 24 Feb 2014]

Arthur Taylor was placed in 'directed segregation' (isolation) in Auckland prison (Paremoremo) from June 2011 to April 2012 - more than eight months. The Ombudsman said: "Accommodation for those prisoners currently undergoing a period of segregation is well below standard and could be considered cruel and inhuman for the purposes of the Convention against Torture."

80% of countries use torture – New Zealand is one

Roger Brooking, Pundit, LTD, 30 Sept 2013

[accessed 29 Sept 2013]

Torture in New Zealand prisons - Thousands of prisoners are also subject to a form of enhanced pharmacological torture. Instead of being given drugs which cause pain, prison doctors in New Zealand are told to take medication off prisoners who are in pain. Section 6.1.1 of the Department’s Medicines Policy “actively discourages” doctors from prescribing opiate (pain killers), benzodiazepines (for anxiety), ritalin (for ADHD) – or any drug which might be ‘traded’ in prison. In some prisons, this policy appears to include anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medication. In other words, prison doctors are encouraged to breach their medical ethics, ignore the welfare of their patients, and allow them to suffer.

Richard Barriball was a victim of this ‘discouraged medication policy’. Prior to being admitted to Otago prison in 2010, he was on four different pain medications after a series of operations on his arm. On his first day in prison, the prison doctors took away two opiate pain killers; four days later they took away the benzodiazepines he had been on for years.

With increasing pain, anxiety and in severe withdrawal, he committed suicide three days later. The coroner said Corrections provided him with sub-optimal care.

Then there’s prison dental torture. The Department has a ‘minimum dental services policy’ whereby prisoners with toothache or an abscess can have the tooth extracted – but are generally not allowed to have fillings. Long term prisoners, with a sentence of more than one year, may receive fillings provided their teeth were in good condition prior to coming to prison. But there are lengthy waiting lists. Prisoners serving less than one year (80% of all those in prison), are told to wait till they get out to see a dentist:

United Nations Convention Against Torture: New Zealand draft periodic report 6

Ministry of Justice, 2012

[accessed 5 Feb 2014]

[accessed 9 January 2019]


242. Since  2009,  four  legal  complaints have  been received  by  the  New  Zealand  High Court regarding ill-treatment in prison (Table 7).

243. Investigations by the Ombudsmen since 2009 under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 have found no evidence of torture.

244. Allegations of torture have been investigated by New Zealand Police and also raised in court proceedings, but none to date have been found to meet the requirements for prosecution.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/CR/32/4 (2004)

[accessed 4 March 2013]

5. The Committee expresses concern about:

(f) The findings of the Ombudsman regarding investigations of alleged assaults by prison staff on inmates, in particular the reluctance to address such allegations promptly and the quality, impartiality and credibility of investigations.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 6 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 6 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

The judiciary is independent, and defendants can appeal to the Privy Council in London. Police discrimination against the Maori, who comprise more than half of the prison population, has been reported.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- New Zealand",, [accessed <date>]