The report fails to illuminate the pivot that convinced the Police to stop eavesdropping and start arresting people. Logistical considerations for the massive raid seemed to have played a large role. Maybe they thought they'd get lucky with their many fishing licences. The unclear, non-present danger is palpable.
The second major cock-up was calling Mr Wolf and the STG into it. The AOS was overkill as it was, but the cops were so paranoid that they pulled in Mr Wolf, and Mr Wolf is a serious mop up kind of guy. How did the cops justify calling in the wetware? From paragraph 93 of the report:
The information which STG relied upon in formulating the plan included the following:
• the targets possessed numerous weapons including “heavy calibre military style semi-‐automatic weapons” and were part of a group actively training in military tactics;
• they had received training in the use of rudimentary explosives and incendiary devices;
• intelligence suggested they were prepared to “die for their cause” and use lethal force to achieve their purpose, including sleeping with weapons under their beds to be better prepared for any attack on them;
• the intention of this group was to achieve “an independent Tūhoe nation within the Urewera area”;
• the area where the training camps were situated was rural and some distance from comprehensive medical facilities;
• not all attendees at the training camps had been identified by Police;
No firearms were presented during the raids, although some were recovered during searches. None were “heavy calibre military style semi-‐automatic weapons”. The rest was fear of the unknown by the Police, where ghosties and ghoulies got them jumpy. However, STG know their lock-downs for serious occasions, and they were the ones who suggested the roadblock.
The third major cock-up was Police knowledge of the confiscation line history, and the subsequent failure to take that into account in the roadblock.
All in all, there's a lot of rotten egg still on the face of NZ Police, and the smell will never go away.