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National’s extreme gang rhetoric

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, October 10th, 2019 - 39 comments
Categories: crime, drugs, law and "order", national, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:

The last few days has been a pretty good example of National’s spray and walk away approach to politics.

According to National this government is responsible for an increase in gang numbers.

How you may ask?  Is this a policy decision?  Did Labour really campaign on increasing numbers?  Did they actually draft a bill, the Lets Stuff up New Zealand by increasing Gang Membership Bill, and introduce this into Parliament?

Well no.  What Labour has been doing is steadily increasing police numbers and increasing the penalties for possession and supply of synthetic cannabinoids.

But National still complained.

After a decade of falling police numbers the increase is actually pretty significant.  And with very low unemployment recruitment is more difficult you would think this was a pretty significant achievement.

And it is particularly galling given that National’s policy was for 1125 new police officers by 2022.  National is complaining that Labour is achieving more than National promised.

Simon then showed that he was a super duper prosecuting super hero by picking a fight with the Mongrel Mob Gang.  O how the clicks in social media must have added up.

Here is what his statement said in response to an invitation to meet Mongrel Mob leadership:

You will no doubt have seen my comments recently about gangs, including the Mongrel Mob over the last few days. Gangs have been emboldened in recent times and I am deeply concerned by the swelling in gang numbers.

I believe people are capable of changing and of redemption, rehabilitation and reintegration. I also believe there will be individual gang members who do good for their whanau and community.

However, I’ve also, as a Crown prosecutor and MP, seen first hand the misery caused by gangs, particularly in their crime and peddling of drugs and violence, not least to women. These are the overriding drivers of gangs.

This is why next year National will release a plan to crack down on gangs.

Thank you for your letter and invitation but until you and your gang hand over your guns and stop all involvement in drugs and violence I have no interest in meeting with you.

I know this is a big call but even Rob Muldoon showed more grace when it came to dealing with the gangs.

And Bridges responded to criticism that he was engaging in lazy and dangerous politicking by engaging in even more lazy and dangerous politicking.

So are gang numbers spiralling out of control and is it all Labour’s fault?

Well no.

Australia’s appalling treatment of Kiwi born residents who have spent decades living there suddenly found that they no longer had boundless plains to share is part of the problem.  Sending them back so they can then grow their networks is having an effect.  And the methamphetamine trade has meant that for some time the gangs have experienced considerable growth.

Radio New Zealand reviewed the situation and reported in this way:

University of Canterbury criminal justice director Jarrod Gilbert said the upward trend in gang numbers actually predates Australian deportations as well as this government.

Dr Gilbert said in 2011, the arrival of the Rebels in New Zealand made gangs more appealing to younger members, which led to more recruitment.

“It’s not an easy story to tell, but we ought not be suckered by cheap political rhetoric either,” he said.

“Opposition parties always talk about the gangs in these ways, it started before the 1972 election when Norman Kirk promised to take the bikes off the bikies and it has happened ever since.

“So we shouldn’t be surprised by this, but no, we can’t see that this trend is something that happened under the Labour government, in fact it started many years before that.”

Sure gangs present a problem.  The methamphetamine trade is rife and is a scourge.  Addicts need treatment but dealers and manufacturers need the full force of the law thrown at them.

But cheap political point scoring using slogans that are essentially fibs is not going to advance the discussion on how we deal with quite complex issues.  Maybe that is the intent.

39 comments on “National’s extreme gang rhetoric”

  1. Dukeofurl 1

    This is the party, while in a long period of government, had a freeze on the police budget and numbers. The areas that were affected the most were the ones that didnt make big headlines: Road safety, fraud investigations and anti gang extortion/drug work.

    We have seen how the enforcement withered for road safety , but Crown Prosecutors had big cuts in budgets for those investigated by the police.

    • lprent 1.1

      This is the party, while in a long period of government, had a freeze on the police budget and numbers.

      They do this every time they are in office. They also put pressure on the police to under report complaints. It gets so that the only reason there is to lay a complaint is because the insurance companies insist that you do it. Then the police just drop it in the bin as K3 "not a crime"

      Then National and the lazy mindless supporters have something to complain about when they get in opposition. As the numbers climb and the real crime levels get reported and then slowly and painfully decreases, they whine about a crime wave.

      I call it the Hosking or Lazy Wanker effect

      • tc 1.1.1

        +100 It's quite sad that the NZP seem to play along quite happily when national are in power doffing the cap. Diversion Mr Slater ? Oh yes please.

        Probably old red squad members polishing the long batons itching for another bok tour.

  2. michelle 2

    All this wind coming from a government that reduced bio security measures at our airports and ports and stopped checking all bags. What happened to our kiwifruit soimon ?

  3. David Mac 3

    Gangs are a soft political target. You can get stuck into them and disenfranchise few voters. Talk tough, make heads nod and do nothing.

  4. Pat 4

    What is a gang?

    • ianmac 4.2

      Simon Bridges heads a Gang of suits who make life very hard for those in need. They are disguised as working for the people but in a similar way to the Taxpayers Union and other Scammers, they rip and tear at our fabric.

      Be warned. Do not approach as they are dangerous.

      Do no answer the door.

      Hang up if they phone.

    • Pat 4.3

      I was thinking more along the lines of the epitome of a self regulating enterprise….and are there 'good' gangs and 'bad' gangs?

    • Anne 4.4

      A gang is a group of associates, friends or members of a family with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over territory in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior.

      I knew a gang once. It was a small politically motivated gang. They didn't operate in the open, and they didn't lay claim to territory as such, but they were individually and collectively involved in seriously illegal and occasionally violent behaviour. They counted among their small number some well known names and they were all New Zealanders.

      The 'powers that be' of the day let them get away with it.

      • Pat 4.4.1

        so by that definition the scope is incredibly broad……my experience is gangs are simply businesses by another name with varying 'brands'

        • Anne 4.4.1.1

          so by that definition the scope is incredibly broad…..

          Yes. And they cover many groups within society. The dangerous ones usually have a few socio/psychopaths in their midst and they can cause a huge amount of damage to individuals and groups of individuals. The 'gang' I once had the misfortune to come up against were members of what we would describe in today’s terms as the Far Right.

          No, I’m not referring to Slater and Co. It goes back further than that.

    • mac1 4.5

      Bit like what is a union. I had a retort for a chairman of a school board I was on who fulminated against unions. I just asked whether the professional accountants association he belonged to was a union. It had its members' welfare at heart, fees and professional practice, safety for clients and members, accountability to members for proper conduct, a collective voice when negotiating, and even possibly compulsory.

      So what is a gang?

      Common purpose, criminal activity, uniformity, rules of behaviour and membership ritual, identification practices, loyalty to the group, high rates of psychopathy.

      What groups in our society fit that description?

    • michelle 4.6

      the biggest gang in Aotearoa is the NZ Police followed closely by the mongel mob

  5. Stuart Munro. 5

    I'd've thought gangs would be a natural fit for the Gnats:

    – more intimidation than policy

    – an irrational fondness for guns

    – a distaste for regulation

    – a predilection for unearned rewards

    • tc 5.1

      sounds like their cabinet club

    • Wensleydale 5.2

      Who's the greater threat? Some thug in a leather jacket trying to sell you P, or some smirking bag of poison in a suit making political capital out of punching down, hammering the most vulnerable, peddling deliberate misinformation, pillaging national assets, permitting infrastructure to fall into disrepair, lying to grieving families, manipulating statistics, violating the privacy of beneficiaries, harassing waitresses and indulging in rampant hypocrisy?

      National are a gang too. They also do a lot of damage and hurt a lot of people. But they have nice haircuts and wear expensive suits, so, you know… free pass and all that.

      • Stuart Munro. 5.2.1

        No argument there – they're fundamentally unfit to be in parliament, much less in power.

        Gang risks are more real for the lower classes – it isn't the Gnats or their supporters who are at risk from them. It's just another way for Simon to demonstrate his irrelevance, as if that were still in question.

        • AB 5.2.1.1

          I think we can be both "tough on Nats, and tough on the causes of Nats" at the same time. Same for gangs.

      • tc 5.2.2

        Gang National had the lawmakers pen in their hand for 3 terms yet these other gangs are still here so roight back at you soimon.

        love the way he doubles down on his stupidity and hypocrisy when challenged.

        • Hanswurst 5.2.2.1

          I sort of feel sorry for Bridges, actually. It comes across to me as though, unlike Key, he is well aware that what he is spouting is idiot drivel, and consequently has difficulty selling it with conviction.

  6. UncookedSelachimorpha 6

    Improve social conditions and opportunities and you will reduce problems with crime.

    Which is the opposite of what National does unfortunately.

  7. NZJester 7

    From stories, I have read the source of this rise in gang numbers in New Zealand might be more to do with Australian policies than New Zealand ones. Minor criminals who have lived in Australia most of there life are sent to New Zealand where a lot have no family and no support are ripe for gang recruitment as well as those who belong to the harder Australian gangs being sent back here to NZ setting up chapters here.

  8. R.P Mcmurphy 8

    very little of nationals party is reality based. it is all mainly a thick veil to cloak their pelf and malfeasance.

  9. Ad 9

    This government should admit we have a fast-growing gang and meth dealing problem and apportion effort accordingly.

    • Hanswurst 9.1

      Hi Simon 🙂

    • Kevin 9.2

      Fast growing? Has someone done a census on gang membership?

      • Graeme 9.2.1

        Yeah, I'd like to see the basis for the claim too. Has there been an actual increase in gang numbers, or a change in methodology giving a greater number, or both?

        Or are the plods talking to government for more funding.

      • Ad 9.2.2

        Police Minister Stuart Nash has released these as responses to Parliamentary questions.

        They show that there has been a 26% increase in patched gang member since 2017. That's a 1,400 increase inside two years.

        So yes, it's a major problem within the power of this government to fix.

        These people are the primary organised criminal meth dealers and violent thugs in the country.

        National are right to raise the alarm.

        And the government should show that it is successfully eradicating gangs, not just telling us it has a plan and has a few more police.

        • Hanswurst 9.2.2.1

          Hold on a minute. That's like saying that an increased number of listed companies is evidence of corporate tax evasion. You referred to a "fast-growing gang and meth dealing problem". Evidence for that would be rising gang-related crime statistics and increased meth dealing. The Drug Foundation's State of the Nation 2018 suggests that meth use is staying fairly static, although it doesn't have any data newer than 2016/17. Otherwise, I can only find various indirect sorts of indicators, like a Herald article that refers to users' reporting that it was easier to obtain in 2016 than 2015 (something that should have shown up in the 2016/17 use data if it were as simple as that. Perhaps you do have other stats, but people wearing patches is a terrible way of backing up your dramatic statement above.

  10. michelle 10

    where is the evidence about growing gang numbers

    • Ad 10.1

      The evidence is in the written Parliamentary questions showing an increase of 26% or 1,400 patched gang members since 2017.

      • Kevin 10.1.1

        Someone standing up in Parliament spouting off a number is not really evidence.
        Was he quoting a study or official report or was it just a number plucked out of the ether?

  11. logie97 11

    Perhaps if we remove a major source of their income.

    What would happen if the nation was to decriminalise and control the production of the problem drugs? Treat any problems as health issues.

  12. Sanctuary 12

    The photo of Muldoon meeting with gang members has to be taken in context. All our gangs are inventions of the later sixties and early seventies. The Mongrel Mob it it's current manifestation only dates from the mid-1970s and was very regional then – mainly based in Hastings, I believe. So back then they could be given the benefit of the doubt and attempts could be made by senior politicians to mainstream them.

    That is hardly the case now fifty years later. We shouldn't beat around the bush here. Organised gangs are criminal organisations, bent on lawlessness and who casually use violence to enforce their will.

    Personally, I am all in favour of draconian anti-gang laws. Make them proscribed organisations where merely being a member is an offense. Create specialised anti-gang police units with the power to conduct warrentless surveillance of a proscribed gang. Make being a gang member an aggravating factor for all other offenses.

    Also, legalise all drugs, and fund social campaigns to make gangs unpopular and encourage citizens to inform on them on every occasion. Make then REAL outlaws. If they want to know what it feels like for the state to real go after you, then I think the government should oblige.

    Shut the fuckers down.

  13. KJT 13

    National, is not, reality based.

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