Law and order has been a go to for right wing politicians for ever.
And there has been fertile ground for them to jump up and down and claim that the world is ending because of a couple of terrible incidents in Tamaki Makaurau during the past week.
In both cases the police have efficiently concluded their investigations and arrested the alleged perpetrators and put them before the court. Which is how things should function. Let the Justice System work out what to do from here. This is what civilised societies expect.
Neither of the people arrested were juveniles. Which is probably just as well. Watching Chris Luxon pivot from boot camp to National’s wrap around policy is better than Labour’s wrap around policy while at the same time yelling out for vengeance could have been too much for him.
I can claim some personal insight into what has happened with the first incident. I was approximately 200 metres away from the scene of the Glen Eden incident. Walking out and seeing police with guns was sobering. The matter is before the court so speculation is dangerous but the sense of testosterone fueled stupidity is strong.
And the initial impression from the second incident is that it was equally as stupid.
This has not stopped some from seeking political advantage. As an example Sunny Kaushal has been trenchant in his criticism of the Government for some time. He has been on a one man wrecking ball against the Government ever since he failed to get the New Lynn Labour nomination in 2017.
He then bought the Shakespeare Tavern. And then complained about the CRL’s effect on Albert Street and sought compensation even though by the time he had purchased the tavern it was clear what the effect of the CRL would be.
And more recently he has taken pot shots at Jacinda Ardern because of robberies and ram raids of dairies. He has claimed that because the Government had raised taxes on tobacco it would be responsible the next time a worker in a dairy was murdered. Yes that is what he said.
The murder of the Sandringham dairy worker has caused Kaushal to promise protest action.
“It will be a nationwide protest. Businesses will close their doors for certain period of time and send a strong message that enough is enough. We will also launch a petition to demand the protection of dairy owners,” Kaushal said.
“It will be after the funeral though. Our priority is to support the family and then we will take action.”
He said he was disappointed Jacinda Ardern had not shown up in her electorate since the incident.
“We need action not empathy,” he said.
“She should have mentioned the words she did on March 15 – ‘They are us,’ he said – referring to Ardern’s comments after the March 15 terrorist attacks in 2019.
“We are they,” Kaushal said.
“It shouldn’t matter the number of lives lost, this happened under her watch.”
Kaushal’s criticism of Ardern matches that of David Seymour who also insisted that Ardern should visit a grieving family immediately after the death of their loved one for political advantage.
On the day Seymour made this claim Ardern was visiting the Chatham Island as part of a formal ceremony with Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri to sign an Agreement in Principle towards the settlement of their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.
Weirdly Television New Zealand described the event as the announcement of a grant. This is Murdochesque in its inaccuracy.
And Ardern has since been in contact with the family and has offered to meet with them at a time of their choosing.
Kerrie Woodham has also jumped on the let’s blame the Government bandwagon and recently said this:
This is entirely on the Government and its softly, softly approach with criminals and lawbreakers.
I am really, really angry this morning. It is utterly needless. It’s been like watching a car crash in slow motion. Of course this was going to happen. It was simply a matter of time.
And the naysayers say well, what are you going to do about? I’d do exactly what Mark Mitchell has suggested. Ban the gang patches. Don’t allow them to associate together. Get tough on the truants and the parents who allow their kids to truant. Start having consequences for actions.
Throw out the violent, aggressive tenants and the Kainga Ora establishments. Give those rooms to the people on the social housing list. Start having meaningful consequences for actions.
The attacks on Ardern and the Government by Woodham and others have all been undermined by news that the person charged with the Sandringham murder had recently been extradited from Australia. And he was aged 34. So boot camps and other assorted tough on crime measures would have basically achieved nothing.
And for Ms Woodham banning gang patches would have had no effect whatsoever. Truancy may have been a problem but it could be that it was the Australian authorities that should have done something about it. And there is no evidence that the person charged had ever lived in a Kainga Ora residence.
Murders of dairy workers has regrettably been an occasional event for a long time. And when you see the historical murder levels then it is clear that per head of population the peak was from 1986 to 1993 and has since been trending down, apart from the blip caused by the Christchurch Mosque massacre.
If you want to apportion blame then the toxic consequences of Roger Douglas’s and Ruth Richardson’s policies can be blamed. The solution will not work over night but essentially it is to repair the damage caused to ordinary families by poverty. But this will take years.
The Labour Government is moving in the right direction, too slow for some, but things are improving.
The last thing we need is more overblown rhetoric and simplistic solutions to resolve a problem that is decades in the making and will require compassion and generosity to fix.