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On the shootings in Napier

Written By: - Date published: 8:13 am, May 8th, 2009 - 65 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

I’m sure I speak for everyone when I express my condolences towards the victims in the Napier shootings and the families of everyone involved. As someone who grew up in Napier, it hits very close to home.

Chaucer Rd, where this is all taking place, is right in the heart of Napier, one of the oldest streets. The steep section going up the Hill where Jan Molenaar’s home is known to all Napierites as Breakneck Rd – it’s a bit of a rite of passage the first time you’re brave enough to go down there on your bike. It’s right beside the old cemetery and the botanical gardens where carols in the park is held. The gully opens right into the CBD so the noise of the shots has been heard throughout the city. I guess what I’m saying the place this is happening is very important to Napierites and it will be particularly devastating because of that.

I don’t want to get too florid in eulogising someone I didn’t know but I know we all are thankful that there are people like Len Snee who are willing to do the difficult job of being a Police Officer and it is a tragedy that he has been killed serving his community. Again, I know I’m not alone in wishing a speedy recovery to those who have been injured.

The family of Molenaar are clearly as devastated as everyone else about what has happened. Geoff’s sensitively handled interview with Molenaar’s brother on National Radio this was very moving and worth listening to when it comes online if you missed it.

Let’s all hope know that this terrible situation can be resolved without anyone else being hurt.

Thanks to the Standardistas for inviting me to write this.

– Clinton Smith

65 comments on “On the shootings in Napier ”

  1. bilbo 1

    Well done Clinton I agree with your sentiments entirely a pity that some of the other posters, commenters and the sysop are unable to behave the same way.

  2. substandard 2

    “Let’s all hope know that this terrible situation can be resolved without anyone else being hurt.”


    Let’s all hope that the cops get a chance to blow this low life’s brains out.

    • Eddie 2.1

      Hear hear Clinton.

      substandard. The thirst for revenge is deep and immediate in all of us. It’s a basic and instinctive response. But I’m not sure how it would solve anything.

      The Police have said they do not want to shoot Molenaar, they want to arrest him. I don’t see why a police officer should have to become a killer too to satisfy your primal bloodlust.

  3. substandard 3


    Why the concern for the killer, is he a Labour party voter?

    • r0b 3.1

      SS, you’ll find a more receptive audience for your trolling over on Kiwiblog. Why don’t you head on over there and knock yourself out.

    • Eddie 3.2

      Please people can you show some decorum and not try to wedge politics into this?

      • Patrick 3.2.1

        not only a labour party voter – but a union rep

        [from stuff]
        “Molenaar was a storeman at a railways workshop in Napier about 20 years ago and, when that closed, he worked as a shunter and was also a union rep”

        • felix

          Is there some reason why this prick hasn’t been given a lifetime ban?

        • lprent

          How exactly do you get “labour party voter”? You can’t. You’re making an assumption. Like me he was in the territorials in the 1980’s – that sounds just as likely that he was a right-wing wingnut, especially if he was as armed as he appears to be.

  4. Hilary 4

    What really worries me (apart from the subhuman comments above) is that behind these incidents are usually serious mental health issues. So what has Tony Ryall done? Cut funding and targets for mental health services.

    • substandard 4.1

      Well done Hilary, I can always rely on left wing scum to politicise a tragedy like this.

      You people have NO shame.

      • Maynard J 4.1.1

        You better have a chat to your mate Bilbo, he’s been at it for two days. Oh, and look in the mirror, you fucking prick:

        “Why the concern for the killer, is he a Labour party voter?”

        • bilbo

          Maynard you panty wetter can you please point to where I’ve been trying to politicise this tragedy ?

          • Maynard J

            bilbo you panty wetter your first comment is a pretty obvious pointer. If you actually gave a hoot, as opposed to coming here to fling about some mealy-mouthed bullshit you wouldn’t have had your little cry about other commenters etc.

          • bilbo

            Congratulations Maynard from Mayfair you are an idiot…….for an example of politicising this see Hilary’s comment.

          • Maynard J

            Meh, you’re a bit of an idiot too, could have just commented on the story instead of going in for the political dig, but thumbs up for the comment about naenae bro: sometimes eloquence is not required.

    • wtf 4.2

      It sounds as though you may have a serious mental health issue Hillary.

  5. Brett Dale 5

    Well said Clinton. Hats off to the NewZealand Police they are showing more patience, than they have too.

  6. gobsmacked 6

    Clinton, thanks for your post. Heartfelt and informative.

    Could everybody – and I mean everybody – please resist the temptation to turn this thread into a political scrap. Every other thread is there for us to do our usual food-fight … but not this one.

    RIP Len Snee, and let’s just hope this tragedy ends without further loss of life.

  7. student_still 7

    It is great to finally see some support here on The Standard for Police. Too often have I come on this blog only to find Police being ridiculed as bumbling idiots, who plant evidence and deviously spy on innocent people.

    This incident is a wake up call. Despite the perceived glamour of the life of an officer, Police more realistically and regularly do the kind of on-duty tasks that nobody else would want to do. They serve and protect us from the drug addled, ignorant, stupid, uneducated and socially unevolved ‘unfortunates’ in our society. It takes an exceptional kind of person to do this.

    Substandard, your petty black-and-white tit-for-tat thinking offers nothing to the discussion. Personally, I’d rather see Police keep the offender alive, so he is ultimately held accountable for the destruction he has caused.

    And on a separate note, substandard, you can’t wish the guy dead for being the ‘scum’ that you think he is without taking some of the blame. Many NACT voters continue to ignore the deeper social issues involved in cases like this, and continue to right these people off as unable to be helped, doomed from the beginning. This kind of denial, accompanied by vengeful knee-jerk reactions towards the crimes they commit, is not solving anything. It is truly sad that people like substandard are unable to see these people AS people, and instead wish police had the power to destroy them at will!

    • substandard 7.1

      What utter crap, your lot have been in power for the last nine years, the NACT government has nothing to do with the so called “social issues” involved in cases like this.

      What we have now in our society is a lawlessness that has been fostered and developed under Labour, the lazy are rewarded and the productive are penalised.

      • lprent 7.1.1

        bb: I suggest that you read the comment as a whole rather than just reacting as is your usual practice. You look like you’re assigning ‘left’ support to anyone that disagrees with you. That is an attitude that you should leave at the sewer. Argue what they say rather than whatever label you just attached to them

        • bilbo

          “You look like you’re assigning ‘left’ support to anyone that disagrees with you. That is an attitude that you should leave at the sewer.”

          In case you haven’t noticed that’s an attitude that is fairly prevalent at the standard as well…… anyone who disagrees with the posts must be a “NACT” supporter or a troll.

          • lprent

            Nope, I’m very discriminating, and so most of the commentators. If that persists then they tend to get a warning, and desist.

            Trolls are pretty easy to recognize – they violate the policy and don’t desist when warned. Indeed most seem to start saying explicitly or implicitly that they should be allowed to say what they like whenever they like – which is plain stupid. But even some of our former trolls have managed to come back on under different or even the same pseudonyms, changed their behaviours, and survived without banning. In fact I’m having problems remembering who I or others here last banned (not counting people with permanent bans).

            I do admit to using wingnut and CCD occasionally. Mainly for effect.

          • bilbo

            There’s a Tui ad in there somewhere.

          • lprent

            BTW: I’ve even tolerated your excursions into different identities to slag someone off.

            However I do urge you to read the policy on pointless personal attacks and not let it grow to be too much of a habit. That particular comment nearly got you a weeks vacation.

          • bilbo

            It needed to be said.

    • lprent 7.2

      Too often have I come on this blog only to find Police being ridiculed as bumbling idiots, who plant evidence and deviously spy on innocent people.

      I think that is over-stating the facts considerably. This should probably be pushed to a different thread in a later post. As far as I can tell from the media the police are doing a good job in Napier. However your point is one that you’ve raised before – you’ve asked it of Anita and never got an answer for at the time. Since you’ve raised it again, I’ll give a long answer from my perspective rather than let your statement stand. Anita’s view is probably similar.

      It is difficult to argue that the precept that most of the nz police do a hell of a good job in difficult circumstances. They follow the rules and get the job done within them. Their overall efficiency explains why NZ has a far smaller police force per head of population than most comparable countries.

      To me it is the mainly the relatively senior police at the fringes in specialized units that seem to have some unusual ideas about what their role and powers are. The difficulty is that there appears to be little control on those units, and the effective avenues of complaint are few. Complaints about the police seem to drop into a vacuum to emerge a year or two later with a bland statement that amounts to “we cannot see what you’re complaining about”. This induces a considerable degree of skepticism amongst people who are aware of these cases, like me, about the management and control of the police by themselves – which is how they are largely governed.

      Most posts that you see here about the police are related to the police interactions with activists – I have written many of them. A lot of people who frequent this site are political activists who are often friends with activists who are pushing for changes in society in various areas in a more direct peaceful and lawful manner . We know these people and the harassment activity by the police directed at them is very hard to justify. That is where you see the criticism of the police coming from. For instance many of us will know or know of the people in the ‘terrorist’ arrests in 2007 and know damn well that the charges against many of them can only be described as being bogus. There are a few mad hatters there as well, but it is likely that mainly what they’re guilty of is spinning bullshit – down to the standards of the sewer, but on the evidence to date, not worse. The ‘training camps’ are no more than Rob Gilchrist was running presumably on instructions from his handlers.

      The track record of police arresting activists at protests, charging them, and then being unable to make the charge get through the court is appalling. Many activists have whole files of multiple charges that they have successfully defended. The main ‘convictions’ are from activists opting for diversion or simply giving up when faced with a year of going through to defend themselves. Some get convicted because they are unable to make one of the multiple court dates, don’t get notified of a court date until very late, or get witnesses to attend yet another date that gets deferred. When that happens, of course happens to be the one that the police finally decide to stop asking for extensions and present their case.

      The pattern of behavior is so consistent from the police side, that in some cases it has to be deliberate, others look like bumbling. Effectively these amount to the police abusing their powers to charge. It appears to me that some police are using the slow court system as a type of extra-legal punishment. Most notably in the numerous cases where the police run a charge right up to the final court date, and then do not offer any evidence to support the charge. Furthermore in the cases where this happens or the charges are dropped, there is no effective recourse – the courts do not even award costs.

      Despite the perceived glamour of the life of an officer, Police more realistically and regularly do the kind of on-duty tasks that nobody else would want to do.

      Exactly. It is a job that I wouldn’t want to do any more than I particularly like doing the volunteer political activist work that I do and I see other activists doing. Both are activities that are required for a society to operate effectively. This site was specifically set up to allow those views to be shared and holes in our political and societal structures to be argued. The police get discussed here because they have considerable powers and very limited oversight outside the police. That is required for the organization to do that job effectively – I don’t think that many people would care to have politicians in control of the police, and the Police Act is a pretty good compromise.

      However because there are few safeguards outside of the police, then sites like this are an important channel to point out the flaws in police operations, which do it a service rather than a disservice. If the police don’t get feedback from the various elements of the public, including activists, about the issues with their procedures and policies – how are the police ever going to fix them.

      The issue for the police is that these deficiencies will continue to get pointed out until they do fix the procedures or ensure that the rationale behind them is clear to the public observing – which it usually isn’t. For instance applications for search warrants (probably the most intrusive of all police powers) that have virtually nothing about local animal rights activism, unsubstantiated and incorrect gleanings from the Internet about AR activities offshore doesn’t engender respect for the police in those who have seen them. Nor does the entering into evidence of video tapes of coronation street episodes to bulk out the evidence.

      The unfortunate side effect is that criticism of particular practices of the police is often perceived by police and their supporters as attacking the institution as a whole. That simply isn’t the case. It is a matter for the police to clean up their own affairs – we simply do our bit from the outside to ensure that they have the motivation by commentary and opinion from the outside. The defensive reflex isn’t particularly useful – I really wish the police would get over it.

  8. Tane 8

    I really don’t see what this has to do with partisan politics. Nice piece by the way Clint.

  9. student_still 9

    substandard, I’m not saying that NACT supporters CAUSE the social problems experienced by these people, I’m just suggesting that they tend not to take them into consideration when they get all fired up about the ‘ghastly’ crimes they commit.

    Lawlessness is not the problem. And just because you have some twisted sadistic tit-for-tat idealism, and believe that criminals being treated as HUMAN BEINGS (which they still are despite their actions) is wrong, it doesn’t mean that labour subsequently ‘rewarded’ them for it.

    substandard, you brought the whole tone of the discussion down by suggesting the offender deserved to have his brains blown out. I was simply responding to that comment, which I felt was completely inappropriate.

  10. Hilary 10

    I was just pleading for more attention to mental health services and funding. These tragic incidents don’t just come out of nowhere. I wasn’t belittling the incident, the police or the families.

    But it is very short sighted policy to remove policy attention and funding to mental health, which is what Tony R has just done. Both events have featured on the news all morning. What’s wrong with connecting the dots?

  11. substandard 11

    What is wrong with admitting that this killer has been on the dole for twenty years, and admitting that Labour have did nothing with the long term unemployed for nine years.

    Labour have blood on their hands over this.

    • Eddie 11.1

      It’s disgraceful of you to try to take political advantage out of this tragedy.

      I’m not going to engage with your claims, they’re simply rubbish and you’re doing yourself a big disservice by making them.

    • ak 11.2

      (mmmmm Ed, – Lynn must be busy, unusual to see rubbish like this left lying about the Standard…)

  12. naenae bro 12

    It is a sad day when police raid a private home over a few tinnies and start a war.

  13. student_still 13

    naenae bro

    How about admitting that Molenaar is culpable for his own actions? He was the one who, for whatever reason, turned something fairly routine into a blood-bath. It is disrespectful and petty to suggest that Police provoked this situation.

  14. Lew 14

    Welcome back Clinton. I have one objection to your post – Geoff Robinson’s interview with the clearly-distraught, unprepared and incommunicative Peter Molenaar this morning was opportunistic and exploitative, not much different to the rest of the coverage on the matter. A live interview at mumble o’clock in the morning with a man who probably hasn’t slept, has had no media training, and is confronted with the likely death of his brother in a hail of gunfire within a matter of hours – even without asking him what he thought would happen – is wretched. Ethical Martini makes the point better than I do.


    • Lew, thanks for drawing attention to Clinton’s comment about this morning’s interview on Morning Report. I was going to make the point myself. No need now and thanks for the link too.

  15. student_still 15

    Good point Lew, I too felt uneasy about the interview. I couldn’t quite figure out why it irked me, but I totally agree with your sentiment. I’m not sure that having the inarticulate deer-in-headlights relatives taking up a fairly large chunk of Close Up last night was the way to go. The journalist conducting the interview appeared pushy and detached. I wonder to what extent the mother and brother were talked into doing it, and if they realised they had the option of refusing to take part? Considering that it is STILL an incident in progress, and very little detail is known about the actual series of events themselves, why did journalists/producers from Close Up think it was appropriate to drag family members into it and have them comment on a situation that hasn’t even fully unfolded yet (more than 24 hours after the triggering incident). Seems like they jumped the gun a bit.

    • Eddie 15.1

      The idea is that Jan might hear his family members and give himself up. I doubt the Police would have been against the interviews.

      It also helps us not to demonise the family and remember Molenaar is a person too with people who care about him, despite the terrible thing he’s done.

      • Lew 15.1.1


        The idea is that Jan might hear his family members and give himself up.

        That might have been the case if the purpose of the interviews was clearly and expressly to communicate with him. It wasn’t – and hasn’t been until tonight, when they broadcast a message from Molenaar’s old mate on Checkpoint. Before now, all the communication about him has been in the third person. In last night’s interviews on Checkpoint Superintendent Sam Hoyle refused to answer questions on the grounds that ‘he listens to the same radio stations as everyone else’ – still a form of megaphone diplomacy, but you can hardly argue that’s its purpose.


        • dirk

          haven’t heard the cops complaining about the interviews though

          even though there was a cop on right after the brother this morning

          • Lew

            dirk and eddie,

            Why would the cops have an opinion on interviews with the offender’s family?

            I’m not talking about them – I’m talking about exploitation of the interviewees.


  16. gobsmacked 16

    Considering that it is STILL an incident in progress

    This is exactly why people should shut up. This is a public forum. Act responsibly.

  17. John's Angry Mate 17

    Nothing like exploiting the death of a police officer to warm the public to your cause. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0905/S00112.htm

    While the guy’s body is still lying on the ground in open air. Rot in hell you fringe-dwelling, crazy-eyed, bottom feeding creeps.

    • Haduoken 17.1

      You’re ignoring the fact that this death is directly related, or even caused by, the drug war.

      This death is a political issue, no matter how you feel about the death of Len Snee.

      • bilbo 17.1.1

        No the death was caused by an idiot who chose to pick up a gun and shoot three police officers and a member of the public….his mum got it spot on with her comments on TV.

        ……… oh and fuck off you tool.

        • Haduoken

          Indirect cause is still a cause.

          [Captcha – holiness – I guess this is what I’m violating?]

          • Pascal's bookie

            [Captcha – holiness – I guess this is what I’m violating?]

            Nah, you’re violating simple human decency, viable political strategy, and logic.

            In descending order of importance

  18. serpico 18

    Lynn Provost has blood on her hands again

  19. Irascible 20

    Interesting reactions to this and other violent events if one trolls facebook pages of NZers living overseas. Consensus of most is “Why return to NZ? It’s too, too violent.”
    If that’s a perception of N.Z. by NZers over-seas perhaps there’s a journalist’s story along the lines of “N.Z.ers exit country because of violence… National to blame.”
    After all similar headlines appeared in the N.Z.Herald as trumpet blasts for National policies in 2008.
    I was told of a foreign national who was awarded a travel scholarship to N.Z. asking for reassurance that the country was safe both from a health point of view and crime as he’d heard that the country was rife with “swine fever” and had a record for violent crime. He was so worried he wanted to ring the NZ embassy to get a travel advisory reassurance.
    Let’s face it, reading the NZ media, particularly the Herald online, is to see N.Z. as being a country be-devilled by violence.

    • marco 20.1

      Very good point. I have been told by a rather interesting and very relible source in the police that what the Herald reports is 25% truth and 75% bulls#*t when it comes to matters involving the police and crime. They rely too heavily on chinese whispers to be taken serously.

      From someone who is neither heavily left nor right (i.e the majority of all NZers), thank you Clinton for a well considered post. Our thoughts are with the families of all those involved. Incidents like this do not happen every day but they are however, part of being a police officer and everyone should be thankfull that people like Len Snee are there to protect the public from those who wish us harm.

      • RedLogix 20.1.1

        If you have ever been involved in some matter or event that was subsequently reported by the media you will have been likely stunned at how inaccurate the article was.

        My experience is that the media is probably like that all the time.

  20. naenae bro 21

    What a sad day for the familys of both victims.Lets hope this the Police get it right next time.

    • “Lets hope this the Police get it right next time.”

      You’d have to elaborate, Naenae bro, there are a couple of angles to this comment.


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