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Human rights, culture wars and the right

Written By: - Date published: 10:49 am, June 17th, 2022 - 39 comments
Categories: boris johnson, Christopher Luxon, human rights, immigration, International, law, law and "order", national, same old national - Tags:

This week National and Christopher Luxon have been talking publicly about which human rights they could trash for gang members.

Generally Luxon is pretty good at delivering the same old cliches time and time again.  But every time he strays into slightly more specific comments he puts his foot in it, or at least the left think that he does this.

Who can forget his description of helping poor people as bottom feeding or his insistence that public transport should pay its way?

This week he added another draw dropping example of some pretty crazy stuff by proposing that photos of gang member wearing bling should be banned from social media.

From Radio New Zealand:

Luxon told Morning Report National also wants gang activity to be restricted on social media.

He said police were telling the party that gang members were doing an effective job of selling gang lifestyle on social media to attract new recruits.

While it was a difficult area to navigate it had been used to control extremist material so the same approach could be tried with content promoting gangs.

Told that Internet New Zealand has dismissed the proposal as impossible to police, Luxon said it has been difficult to deter violent extremism and organisations and he could not see why it cannot be tried.

“Gang life is actually promoted with all the bling and all those presentations. That’s what we can have a crack at it.

“I appreciate it’s tough and it’s hard but we should try doing something and giving the police some tools to push back on.”

When Luxon was pressed on whether the party’s gang policy had been formed taking into consideration the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act, he countered that gang members wanted the rights and not their responsibilities.

So any gang member wearing bling will have their photos banned from social media?  And a picture of a Headhunter with a fancy watch is the same as the live video from the Christchurch Mosque massacre?

Any leftie or person who actually believes in human rights would think that proposing this would be crazy.  The attack of the freedom of expression would be so profound, with such limited benefits that it would have to fail.

There has been another example overseas which makes me wonder if this is not a random event but a feature of right wing politics.

In the United Kingdom the Conservative Government has its own egregious attempt to undermine human rights.  The Government has proposed that asylum seekers, no matter which country they come from, should be shipped off to a holding prison in Rwanda as a way to deter people smugglers.

The policy was announced with some fanfare by Boris Johnson who promised to dig in for the fight with leftie lawyers to make sure that the policy succeeded.

He said this:

There’s going to be a lot of legal opposition from the types of firms that, for a long time, have been taking taxpayers’ money to mount these sorts of cases, and to thwart the will of the people, the will of parliament. We’re ready for that,” he said.

“We will dig in for the fight and, you know, we will make it work. We’ve got a huge flowchart of things we have to do to deal with it, with the leftie lawyers.”

And dig in they did.  The Government resisted applications for interim injunctions through the English Judicial System but a last minute decision by the European Court of Human Rights stopped the flight.  The test case involved an Iraqi national who claim that he had been tortured has some support from medical authorities.  The Court ruled that the arrangement, involving a non legally binding promise to return refugees to England on request and the question whether Rwanda was actually safe deserved proper consideration.

The Government’s response was typical with deputy prime minister Dominic Raab claiming the Court had overstepped its powers.

Asked about death threats made on social media to human rights lawyers, he said they were unacceptable but then doubled down by saying that Britain’s Human Rights Act had led to an “industry” of lawyers promoting “elastic interpretations” of the law on behalf of their clients.

And pro Brexit backbenchers have gone to town and demanded that England withdraws from the ECHR, even though it was set up before the European Union primarily through English efforts to address human rights violations that occurred during the second world war.

The Rwandan policy has been heavily criticised not only by Human Rights lawyers but also by the Churches, Prince Charles, and even even some Tory backbenchers, including the former prime minister Theresa May.  It has all of the hallmarks of that other example of accelerated cruelty where the Australian Government transported refugees to a detention centre on Christmas Island.

I mention this because the UK policy and National’s anti gang rhetoric have some similar features.  Attack an unpopular minority with laws that breach their and our rights and get ready to blame the lawyers if the attempts fail.

And Luxon’s proposal that social media be scoured for Gang members wearing bling will have another feature that National normally repels from, a multitude of public servants will need to be employed to scour individual face book pages, and tick tock and instagram feeds.

Both attempts are crass and directly violate some fundamental human rights.  It is sad that there exists a political market for this sort of behaviour.

39 comments on “Human rights, culture wars and the right ”

  1. Matiri 1

    Boris Johnson’s grandfather Sir James Fawcett was knighted for his work for the European Commission of Human Rights. One of those leftie lawyers.

    His own family is more than critical of the Rwandan policy.


  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    The constant use of “woke” in a pejorative sense like “soy boy”, “snowflake”, and above all, the much earlier–Pee Cee “PC”–shows how people can get hooked into right wing and authoritarian narratives, framing and memes.

    Supporting various exploited and oppressed groups should be viewed as positive surely?
    Grumpy white blokes apparently are to be treated gently because they might vote Epsom Twerker or natzo–sod ’em I say.

    Luxon is a political lightweight, without massive media support he would be gone by lunchtime. “Take the bikes from the Bikies” “the public has had a gutsful” was a Norm Kirk policy at one time–not many if any were ever taken! Boy racer crackdown said Bentley and Harley owner Banksie, same result, Crusher Collins did not crush many either, though Anne Tolley stood on the hood of one allegedly about to be crushed…about as believable as her office “firebombing”.

    I would support patch wearers over Luxon anyday. Gangs are an expression of the problem not the main problem.

  3. Molly 3

    Perhaps, instead of spending energy on discussions about Luxon's policy, we could address the issue and post our own solutions.

    First, it is useful to accurately state the problem:

    1. Gang violence seems to be increasing, and is taking place more publicly – we need to determine whether this is so;
    2. The number of serious firearm offences seems to be increasing – is this tied into gang conflicts, whether internal or external? If not, what could be a factor? If so, how do we address it?
    3. Is there a negative effect on the public that is both intended and exploited by the wearing of a patch associated with criminal activities, and perceived increasing violence? If so, should this be addressed? How could it be addressed?
    4. Are patches a form of advertising or recruitment to young people? Is the status given when they achieve a patch indicative of achievement or a form of intimidation – or both? Does this have to be addressed, ie. is there other options available for young people to meet their need to belong, and to be protected in some form, by that belonging?
    5. Are there other groups that identify themselves in similar ways, with similar intent? Any action that is proposed, should include those groups as well.

    I'm sure there's more, or improvements or edits that can be made on the above, just getting the ball rolling.

    We could spend time complaining about Luxon, but really, did you expect anything else?

    • Mike the Lefty 3.1

      I'm not sure that gang violence is actually increasing. There have always been gang related violence episodes happening pretty much around the country at any particular time but because the spotlight is now on them rather than the road toll and beach drownings they seem to be worse. I think that crime in general is on the increase and nobody seems to know how to stop it, unless the government plans to increase the size of the police force tenfold (which we know they won't and can't afford). Harsher punishments don't stop crime – they only punish worse those that are caught and if they are not caught then they can't be punished.

      As for Luxon's policy. He knows damned well it wouldn't work but that is not really the point – the point is that it winds people up and that what he wants to do. Wound up people are easy prey for manipulation and National just LOVES to manipulate.

      • Molly 3.1.1

        I agree that policies such as Luxon's are inadequately formed and political and divisive in intent. But I have no interest in improving the suggestions if the National party

        Do left-wing parties think there is an issue?

        If so, what are their proposed solutions?

        People who have dealt with public intimidation and gang violence, will be looking for answers.

        Does the left have any, or do they truly believe there is nothing to address?

        • aom

          The crimes v gangs issue isn't a left-right binary scenario. There are hard-line lock 'em up and throw away the keys adherents and on the other side are those who advocate a problem solving approach – usually based on the understanding that there are plenty of more productive options other than using social violence. It is easy to rant and rave at 'other' while not appreciating that our social structures are now moulded by a neo-liberal philosophy which legalises the 'rich get richer and bugger the rest' social ethos.

          Gangs are intimidating to many, but the question needs to be asked as to whether it is real, or imagined, and fed by irrational paranoia. What proportion of the population have only ever been confronted vicariously. The other thing that needs to be acknowledged is that a significant proportion join gangs because they feel they have been intimidated.

          • Tiger Mountain

            “Intimidated” and you could add alienated…by capitalism, neo liberalism and post colonialism.

            Stick it to them is one response–join “The Filthy Few”, don’t run with the herd–most in our society after 40 years of Roger’n’Ruth’s toxic legacy become compliant consumers, emotional wrecks after one redundancy too many, or mere survivors on some level.

            I have been on the periphery of gangs just because of who I know since the late 70s, and frankly try to have little to do with patched members or associates. If you are not a member you are not shit in that world. But by and large they are not out to get you!

    • Ross 3.2

      We could spend time complaining about Luxon, but really, did you expect anything else?

      There was a post recently where I think Micky asked if there would be a snap election. Clearly the answer was no as National wouldn’t want one! There’s too much hay being made while the sun is shining.

      I look forward to Labour MPs defending the rights of gangs. Curiously there don’t seem many prepared to do that. In fact Stuart Nash and Greg O’Connor have been vocal critics of gangs. It’s great when we see bipartisanship on a political issue. Now let’s focus on the victims of crime.

    • Blade 3.3

      Molly, way to go! It's about time we had suggestions from the Left. The ''tread water'' strategy Labour has at present regarding crime ain't working. So it's time for solutions from the Left.

      As to Luxon's suggestion regarding social media. It could work, but the effort wouldn't be worth it. But…at least they trying something. As I have repeated ad nauseam, major restructure of Winz, Justice and Police with the requisite legislation in place is required. Everything else is just tinkering, and Luxon's idea is a good example of that.

  4. Maurice 4

    Welcome to the Party Pals. The attacks on despised minorities is a well worn path practiced by BOTH sides of the political spectrum

    Firearms owners tried to point this out when previously lawfully held property was confiscated.

    Then those marching to Parliament to speak with their 'representatives' recently were demonised.

    Attacking minorities is SOOOOOO "democratic"

    Only the Majority or a particularly chosen group deserve "rights" … or is that "privileges" ????

    • Populuxe1 4.1

      Just before I get out my teeny tiny violin, can you please explain how the quality of your life has been detrimentally impacted by you not being allowed to have military style semi-automatics and assault rifles?

      • Maurice 4.1.1

        Ye of little understanding …..

        Have enjoyed shooting for many years – especially target shooting with pest control a necessary chore.

        Have been a disabled volunteer farm pest controller for many years but since not employed as such was not eligible for a "P" endorsement to keep my semi-automatic Modern Sporting Rifle. Still assist my farming friends but at a lot lower hit rate so that instead of being allowed ten deer a year I now am given the chance at one or two since they have had to use far more shooters with bolt action (ex-military!) rifles to control the other pests on their farms – of which there are now ever increasing numbers due to lower hit rates.

        The manual actions are far more difficult for the disabled to use quickly and manual loading rather than magazine changes far more painful.

        Also participate in Service Rifle matches where exactly the same problems arise.

        So without the semi-autos I am of far less use to my farming friends and they now have to do much of their pest control themselves – working all day on the farm then control pests at night where as they could sleep while I and my helpers did the job – at no charge.

        WE have ALL been diminished and the removal of these firearms from Licence holders has had little of perhaps even a negative effect upon firearm crime – which no rational person can dispute.

        Oh! As collectors many of us where left owning REAL FULLY automatic Assault rifles which we cannot use as they must be kept inoperable while the semi-automatic sporting rifles were taken from us!

  5. AB 6

    We can condemn the right for the cynical creation of a law and order panic for political gain – and then when they actually get power producing nothing but ineffective, grandstanding, performative gestures. (The right's real and abiding interest is redistributing wealth upwards when they are politically strong, and at a minimum preventing its redistribution downwards when they are politically weak. Law and order is a convenient sideshow.)

    That's all true. But when it comes to gangs it's the only game in town because the putative left won't or can't offer an alternative that enough people will believe in.

    • Incognito 6.1

      Law and order is a convenient sideshow.

      In the hands of some RWs Law and Order is and has been an instrument of power to suppress the underclass. As such, it’s a key pillar in the efforts of upwards wealth distribution (‘trickle up’) and simultaneously to instil and enforce their ideological values (…) on the lower class.

      What are they gonna ban next: gangsta rap, Eminem ("Lose Yourself"), hoodies, tats, AB T-shirts?

      • AB 6.1.1

        Yes – that is a more complete formulation than mine. Thanks. In my mind though, it makes the formation of a credible and popular left alternative to the problem of gangs even more important.

  6. Robert Guyton 7

    "photos of gang member wearing bling should be banned from social media."

    Remember the photo of John Key in his swimming pool, (gloating),with his very expensive watch on his wrist?

    Bling! Bling!

    • Tricledrown 7.1

      Merrill Lynch, BT most likely laundering Russian oliagarch billions. London was a wash with Russian money in the post communist era still is.Money Traders would have known .White collar criminals get a knighthood the great unwashed go to jail.

  7. Ad 8

    Yes but Mickey … our government is quite happy to sanction listed names of Russian rich people, and most governments around the world are confiscating great volumes of their property.

    And in NZ, the Police appear to be deploying the Proceeds of Crime Act to take much of gang motorcycles, cars, property, and cash already.

    Long may it continue.

    If the new Minister of Police with his Masters in Criminology can encourage the Police gang unit to perp-walk the blingy fools, strip them of their patches, and reduce them to ordinary citizens who have to earn their money the legal way, then Minister Hipkins has just a wee chance of being able to turn the gang crime story around for Labour.

    If Hipkins can't show how we are actively stripping gangs of their wealth, we've lost the law and order narrative completely, and it will seriously hurt us in the polls.

  8. Tricledrown 9

    Red Logix National froze Police budgets for 9 yrs effectively cutting the police budget by 20% over those 9 years.John Key made the very loud and bold claim he was going to rid NZ of the scurge of P its use grew exponentially from that moment.Police numbers were cut while the population grew by 20%. 501's started and have lead to more vicious more organized expanding gang prolification. With poverty homelessness continually increasing especially since Covid and the Ukraine invasion the gang problem is only going to get far worse.The same trends are happening across the world. This govt has increased police numbers but they need to put many more police out on the streets to let people know they are able to match gang numbers and be a preventative force. Police have been stretched beyond their capability with the covid response having to do more duties with sickness etc,taking police away from frontline duties. Even traffic policing has been affected.Police just don't have the numbers to pull over convoys of Gangs on a regular basis they can't police the roads effectively either.The Road Traffic policing should be a seperate arm of Policing so we have a constant and consistant effort.Police district commanders have traffic policing hrs targets so at the end of a month if the targets aren't being met Police district commanders throw all the police out on the road at once for brief periods to get their allotted targets.That needs to be changed so Traffic Police maintain high numbers constantly . Police visibility drives crime down. Gangs are expanding at a rapid rate if Police were able to confiscate motorcycles and vehicles from gang members at high rates it would disrupt drug trafficking and gangs expanding.The money to buy these vehicles should be a factor if it can't be proved that the Gangster who owns the motorcycle has paid for their motorcycle with legally obtained money that should be siezed for a money laundering crime.Remember Al Capone was brought down by money laundering laws ie tax evasion. We need a Gang Response team and now NSW has seen a drop in gang violence since they introduced the tactical gang response unit.Labour Hipkins needs to get ahead on this problem.Breaking down doors removing fortifications confiscating bikes even if its for 28 days until that person can prove they got the money legally.The Labour govt needs to get stuck in and not dither because while National is all mouth and No action like Key and Muldoon.Perception is what voters are seeing and National can keep taking cheap shots while not having their poor reputation of underfunding police exposed.

  9. Corey Humm 10

    Banning gang insignia and bandanas over peoples faces could be a thing but not gang members being blinged up but it'd have to be done by social media and big tech not the government which doesn't have anywhere near the resources.

    Gangs are violent vile thugs who hawk meth and poison and terrorize their neighbors and neighborhoods and with 501s it's only getting scarier, but throwing money at the problem when there's no resources to do what a party wants ain't going to do shit. It be better in fact to ban Facebook etc from allowing those profiles in our country than banning the individual but I don't know how that'd be possible because we have very little sway with such a small population.

    Itd be better to make poor and working class peoples living standards better so they aren't tempted to join gangs (or forced into it) but gangs are thugs. I don't think the left appreciates the terror they inflict on communities like the one I grew up on and with these mega state house apartment blocks instead of stand alone homes it's getting worse and more unsafe. Instead of a having a yard and a fence to seperate you you have them literally right next to you or above you (they really ought to do hardcore background checks before they put people in these apartment blocks to protect the vulnerable tenants in them from thugs, not saying don't build these apartment blocks but am saying don't let gangs take them ovdr and terrorize the other tennents, but the rights solution just will make the problem ten times worse and more violent.

    One side seems to want to ignore the other seems to want to throw gas on the fire.

    My next vote will be against a national govt not for a labour govt. That's the best I can offer, voting against something worse, not for something better.

  10. swordfish 11

    What an absolutely remarkable reversal … citizens' long-held fundamental rights to freedom of expression & equality under the law now under constant attack & regularly derided here as "freeze peach" … unless, it seems, you're a violent-sadistic gang member/associate with a long history of criminality & inflicting gross harm on others … in which case your human rights, dignity & freedom of speech are apparently being viciously "trashed".

    Tough shit for their numerous victims.

    Yet another example of the affluent Woke’s perverted moral compass.

    The self-centred Luxury Beliefs of a 400 buck-an-hour narcissistic virtue-signaling Professional Middle Class …. who get to indulge in ostentatious displays of prestige-enhancement to signal their fidelity to the new elite while ensuring they're never in a position to do the suffering they indirectly inflict on others.

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