RSA and police in standoff over who is responsible for cancelled Anzac Day events

Some RSA staff are taking big issue with claims police aren’t the ones who have been ordering Anzac Day services and parades in Auckland to be cancelled.

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The Police Minister says police haven’t been ordering a group of Auckland cancellations. Source: 1 NEWS

The number of services this year is being drastically cut because of the ongoing high terror risk since the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Last year there were almost 90 events, but this year there will be fewer than 30.

There will be just 10 official dawn services in our biggest city and RSA officials have been copping abuse since the decision was made.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said at Parliament earlier in the week that, "police have not told anyone, or advised anyone or any organisation not to hold an Anzac Day parade”.

It was a claim he also made in the media, telling NewstalkZB also on Wednesday "Police have never instructed anyone... about what they should or shouldn't do. They just give advice and recommendations".

But RSA officials at the Birkenhead RSA say that is not correct.

"Myself and our president went to a meeting with two other presidents at the police headquarters at North Shore," secretary-manager Garry Cooley told 1 NEWS.

"The first thing we were told was you will have no parades and no marches anywhere, and after a bit of discussion on that we were then told you will have one civic parade and you will have one dawn parade.

"No arguments… it was an order, we were directed, it wasn’t would you please, it was you will have," he says.

Mr Cooley said he was aghast at comments saying police had given no orders to cancel services.

"I replayed it five times to make sure I was hearing correctly, I couldn’t believe what he [the Minister] was saying, I was dumbstruck."

Mr Cooley said the RSA Birkenhead president Lynda Gage was also in the meeting with police and the two made sure they’d heard the same information after it.

He said RSA officials are being called cowards and being accused of not standing up for those who fought for the country, when it was a decision they were told to make.

"It’s not us, we’ve been told we must," Mr Cooley said.

1 NEWS asked the Police Minister’s office if Mr Nash wanted to clarify any of his comments, but it declined and said the final call to cancel services was up to service organisers.

The police would not be interviewed.