Rare misstep

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, July 14th, 2021 - 37 comments
Categories: crime, drugs, national, same old national - Tags:

Such is the paucity of talent in National’s ranks that its decidedly most junior member, Simeon Brown, has been making a few splashes recently.

This week, by National standards, he has done quite well.  He managed to persuade the media that a new scandal was happening and it was a doozie.  Not only was the Government wasting money on drug addicts, but he struck what he thought was gold.  Because according to Simeon Government money was making its way into the Mongrel Mob’s coffers.

From his press release:

I will be introducing a private member’s bill to prevent future Government funding from being granted to organised crime units, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“The Gang Funding Prohibition Bill will ensure that any person responsible for the expenditure of public money must take reasonable steps to ensure that the public money under their control is not used directly or indirectly for the purposes of making payment to gangs.

“This will likely seem self-evident to some and yes, it should be reasonable to expect that public officials and elected representatives would use their common sense and good judgement to not allocate public funds to gangs.

“This Labour Government has shown that we cannot simply expect that our public funds do not go to gangs, we will have to legislate it.

“Any New Zealander who needs drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation should be able to access such treatment. It is vital that rehabilitation is funded and effective. A gang which imports, makes, and deals drugs itself, is not an effective organisation for rehabilitation.

“There is no justification for the Government funding the Mongrel Mob at what works out to be $275,000 per participant when, as I understand it, Victim Support receives about $400 per person to support the victims that gang crime creates.

The reality is more complex.  Marty Sharpe has this article in Stuff that provides the details but essentially:

  • The Kahukura programme, which Brown is referring to, provides residential drug treatment for up to 10 participants over eight weeks on a marae in Central Hawke’s Bay.
  • $2.75 million from the Proceeds of Crime fund has been tagged for the program for the next four years.
  • Support for the programme was recommended by the Ministry of Health and supported by Corrections, Police, MSD and the local Hawke’s Bay Police.
  • It was trialled for a short period of time in 2020 and resulted in “high compliance with court orders” and it “showed signs of success”.
  • Participants would reside at Te Tapairu​ marae​ in Waipawa​.  Activities they engaged in include “working in the kai māra​ (community gardens) at a “community garden” on the property of the president of the gang’s ‘’Notorious’’ chapter”, exercising at a gym in Waipukurau​, “morning walks along the Mataweka River”, “a fishing trip on a boat on the Napier harbour”, and attending Narcotics Anonymous in Hastings.
  • MOH deputy director-general mental health and addiction Toni Gutschlag said “when assessing the request for support from H2R, the Ministry acknowledged that there was a gap in current service provision – the initiative provided a way to fill this gap, engaging with a hard-to-reach segment of the community”.
  • The program is being funded from the Proceeds of Crimes fund.  A more apt use of the fund is hard to imagine.
  • “In order to obtain funding an initiative must be approved by a panel consisting of senior representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Ara Poutama Aotearoa (Department of Corrections), Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, New Zealand Police, The Treasury, Oranga Tamariki and the Chief Science Advisor.”
  • The panel then makes recommendations to the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Minister of Justice, who have the final say.

This application jumped through more hoops than a professional hula hoop dancer.  But yet Simeon saw a chance to stir up a bit of anti gang prejudice and waded in.

He shows a disturbing inability to do basic maths.  He thought that the program would cost $275,000 per participant which it would if there were only ten participants in total.  But there are ten participants per eight week course, of which there could be six a year or 24 over the four year period the funding relates to.  So a total of 240 participants, and when you factor in accommodation costs, food, counselling and professional support, and the adminisitrative costs relating to review and management of the project you do get the feeling that not much would be left.

He also shows a vivid imagination.  There is no proof that any of the funds will reach the Mongrel Mob, let alone all $2.75 million of it.

Simeon’s attempted smear is full of hyperbole and terribly short of fact based reality.  Which is not unusual.  But rather dispiriting.  Can’t the opposition do better than this?

37 comments on “Rare misstep ”

  1. Capn Insano 1

    Nothing rare about it with that greasy little stain on my electorate.

  2. dv 2

    This sounds like a very good program.

    More please.

  3. Patricia Bremner 3

    Thanks for the excellent background. Sadly National always take the divisive road, perhaps because when touting “Individual responsibility” they really mean “No community help”?

    This seems a great initiative.

  4. cricklewood 4

    ‘stir up a bit of anti gang prejudice’

    Well to be fair the gangs do peddle the misery that is Meth in our communities. They’re involved in organized crime have plenty of illegal fire arms and there’s no sugar coating that.

    • Enough is Enough 4.1

      Exactly.

      There is absolutley nothing positive about criminal gangs. We should be helping people get out of them, or keeping our young people away from them in the first place.

      But as for the gangs themselves, they are the lowest of the low, and have no good reason for exisitng.

      If you aren’t “anti gang”, what the hell are you?

      • I Feel Love 4.1.1

        Realistic?

        • cricklewood 4.1.1.1

          Woke?

        • Enough is Enough 4.1.1.2

          I suppose you could be realistic. In the same way you can be realistic about murder, climate change, and poverty.

          They all exisit, and will never go away.

          But you can also be against all those things and and want to see the end of them.

  5. tc 5

    ‘…managed to persuade the media…’ more like here run with this and nationals media duely oblige as always.

    Fact check…pfffft just publish

  6. Christopher Randal 6

    “Can’t the opposition do better than this?”

    No – they are only interested in causing division and in dirty politics.

  7. Robert Guyton 7

    By some curious twist of fate, the words “Simeon” and “snivel” have exactly the same number of letters!

    • froggleblocks 7.1

      He was not off to a good start when his parents decided to name him Simeon after his evident ape-like qualities at birth.

    • Gabby 7.2

      So do 'Robert' and 'Guyton'! Coincidence?

  8. Stephen D 8

    Interesting to see the new ones jockeying for position. Erica Stanford on immigration, and Simeon on Laura Norder. Are there machinations happening? C’mon Tova, spill the beans!

  9. Incognito 9

    Nuance can be hard to digest properly and you’ll have to get past the reflexive ‘common sense’ reaction first, which is too much to ask of some lazy thinkers.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/125738996/police-support-275m-funding-of-mob-rehab-programme

    BTW, Simeon Brown should have asked Paora Goldsmith to check his maths, like all National MPs. That’s what a good team would do.

  10. Pete 11

    Simeon Brown’s attempted smear might be full of hyperbole and terribly short of fact based reality. Reality doesn’t matter though.

    In a nutshell (excuse pun) what Brown is suggesting is that no money be spent on rehabilitating gangs or rehabilitating gang members with drug problems.Those can be the only conclusions to draw from his latest effort.

    So what does he want? Surely it must mean he wants drug addled gang members to go free to cause mayhem and then be arrested and chucked in jail.

    This isn’t about maths, it’s about images and impressions. Big tough man Simeon’s going after the gangs and is going to lock them all up. He was in the news recently about him being threatened. The biggest threats around Simeon Brown are to do with the threats to this country if some deceitful grandstanding dweeb like him gets into government.

  11. Joseph 12

    Gang hierarchy worried about their soldiers using the product instead of selling it. Govt steps in to fix this problem.

    I want this Labour govt to succeed but own goals dont help.

  12. Chris 13

    Reminds me of how Bennett axed a 100% successful programme for youth at risk run by a community group at Kawarau that cost $150,000 a year to run. It’s not in the interests of the right-wing to successfully address social problems because they need high crime, high unemployment, bad health stats etc so there’s something they can say they’ll fix. So if they fix something that’s one less thing they can say they stand for because they stand for nothing else except lining the pockets of the rich. Social problems give the right-wing sustenance.

    • I Feel Love 13.1

      Exactly Chris. More money for the likes of "meth testing homes" scams & for profit rehabs.

    • tc 13.2

      Bennett destroyed alot of good work when she abolished 'night classes' using self funded ones about golf as examples that national's media ran with …..funny that.

      Cruelity personified as many aged folk needed them to acquire skills after their partners departed for cooking etc at the local high school or somewhere close

      Lest we forget that is what National are all about.

  13. peter sim 14

    The natz have always had a british empire upper class "born to rule" contempt for people who disagree with those values. It has caught up with them.

    This move is dangerously close to playing ethnic superiority issues as politically viable.

    This is the 21st century. The natz were formed in the 1930's. They have not moved with the times.

    The ongoing long term consequences of covid are very problematic.

    The ongoing long term consequences of climate change are very problematic.

    The "free market" very unsound theorising has helped a very small number of people to amass impossibly useless amounts of personal wealth. (bezos, zuckerberg

    Millions (world wide) die, starve, and needlessly suffer while roger douglas, richard prebble, jim bolger , ruth richardson et al enriched the already wealthy and increase poverty, ill health, despair.

    The natz in nz worry about koha?

    Whose side are they on?

  14. Pukahu Road 15

    This is a whanau led programme that seems to be working well.

    The alternative rehab from a struggling public health system under further pandemic stress will never treat the whole person as successfully as this programme potentially can.

    Well written MS.

    Agree 100% peter sim.

    [deleted “THis” from e-mail address]

      • Incognito 15.1.1

        No, they don’t.

        Did you read past the headline?

        • pat 15.1.1.1

          Seems pretty clear they do disagree

          "The association wanted the money funnelled to legitimate addiction services in provincial New Zealand which were crying out for such help."

          • Incognito 15.1.1.1.1

            Well, your comment is more helpful because at least it contains something specific and of substance, almost. In contrast, the comment by Enough is Enough was an empty, hollow, and vacuous one that was so generic that it was useless for debate. But maybe that was the point of the comment?

            If someone is interested in debating that article in that tabloid, go for it. There are a few quotes in it that I could set my teeth in!

            Maybe you can explain to me what they mean by “legitimate addiction services” and why the current recipients apparently don’t qualify for that label and thus not for that funding, according to Cahill?

            • pat 15.1.1.1.1.1

              I could, but the article does that for me…..you could always read it before dismissing it

              • Incognito

                And there it goes again, I didn’t dismiss it, I dismissed the comment by Enough is Enough.

                I’ve also read the article in Stuff; same story.

                Are you ok, Pat? Lately, your comments have been different.

            • Enough is Enough 15.1.1.1.1.2

              The comment was so generic that it clearly opened up the debate, that you claimed it was useless for. Go figure

              • Incognito

                Your spray-and-walkaway contribution has been noted, thanks. BTW, the thread was started @ 15 by Pukahu Road. PS there was no debate as such. Have a nice day.

  15. JustMe 16

    Oh well I guess that means National will have to forget about getting fund from those Instant Kiwis who have Triad links and donate to the NZ National Party.

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