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Stop the auction

Written By: - Date published: 10:50 pm, January 23rd, 2009 - 31 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags:

The tragic shooting death of Halatau Kianamanu Naitoko on the motorway today was not National’s fault. In fact it was nothing to do with National or Labour or any single policy from either of them. Ever. It wasn’t a sign of a government “soft on crime”, nor would it have been stopped by tougher sentencing.

See how easy that was?

The next step is to take a deep breath and take Law And Order off the list of political footballs so that some sensible analysis and approaches can take place to limit the number of victims and criminals whose lives are ruined by criminal acts.

The media won’t like it because crime is cheap and thrilling copy and analysis ain’t but as I/S has been pointing out for some time now the Law and Order auction must stop. The question is whether Labour will have the integrity to stop it.

31 comments on “Stop the auction ”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    There’s not much I can add to your post, IB, except to sincerely thank you for writing it, and commend its logic to anyone tempted to think Mr McVicar might have the answers.

    And if I/S would turn his comments back on, I’d sincerely thank him, too.

  2. Its the fault of the guy who pulled the trigger and had no regard for anyone else’s life.

    Oh its not society’s fault either.

  3. gingercrush 3

    But why can’t you be tough on crime? Ensure that murderers, violent offenders and rapists are locked away and unlikely to ever be let free while acknowledging those who we can potentially help and who could gain employment in the future. Why can’t we lock away repeat offenders and yet help others. Yes we need analysis etc and look at a new way of doing things. But that doesn’t mean we need to be light with violent and repeat offenders. We need a debate on drugs, particularly marijuana. But what about more dangerous illegal drugs such as PI. Then there’s the whole issue concerning white collar crime.

    So yes we need analysis and discussion but we also have to make sure that the worse offenders in this country are severely punished.

  4. Pascal's bookie 4


    “…are severely punished.”

    What are you thinking of, tough guy?

    Punishment, to be effective at modifying behaviour needs to have certain features. It needs to be:

    1) Consistent; every time the behaviour occurs the punishment must follow. (If you don’t have this, you end up punishing ‘getting caught’ rather than the behaviour),

    2) Immediate, (so that the punishment doesn’t become associated with something else, like ‘the system’)

    and 3) the punishment needs to be both bad enough it deters the behaviour by outweighing the behaviour’s benefit, and of short enough duration that it doesn’t become separated from the behaviour. ( ie If you drag it out too long, the punishment ceases to be associated the behaviour)

    Do you think long tedious prison sentences, delivered by a cumbersome legal system fit those criteria? Or were you thinking about other forms of punishment than prison? Something a little more immediate and visceral perhaps.

    Or were you using punishment, not in a behavioural science sense, but in the older idea that the infliction of punishment is justice in and of itself, without regard to what effects it might have with regard to behaviour? Are we talking about social policy here, or vengeance? Or some mashup of the two?

  5. gingercrush 5

    Just bad usage of language.

  6. Johnty Rhodes 6

    oh fuck the gushing fault about this disaster.
    it is the resuolt of 9 yrs Labour rule where cops are hauled over the coals when a shooting occurs, remember Wallace in Waitara???????????

    Let the cops deal with the real true scum when appropriate. Quite frankly., a F16 with a ATG missile is required for the Skyline scum. It will minimise colleteral damage. These days, the cops in a high speed chase have to think about the perputrators rights before they act.

    RIP, the innocent one, but kill the real scum before the public get involved.

  7. BLiP 7

    Some egg said:

    ” . . . oh fuck the gushing fault about this disaster.
    it is the resuolt of 9 yrs Labour rule where cops are hauled over the coals when a shooting occurs, remember Wallace in Waitara???????????”

    Ah yes – that was the poor chap killed by a policeman for breaking windows.

    Tell you what, if there was any justice in the world, New Zealand would hand over the Fonterra executives involved in the baby-food scandal to the Chinese authorities. They’ve got the right idea, eh Johnty?

  8. jbc 8

    Interesting topic IB. You’re correct, of course, that this shooting doesn’t have any direct “smoking gun” link to a government “soft on crime”.

    You have to wonder though, what drives the mind of the original perpetrator in this case?

    Being outside NZ for many years now in a relatively low-crime country; one of the things that stands out for me is the number of “random” people going about their business (or tourists) that become victims of violent crime and murder in NZ. Unknown to the criminal until moments before their death or assault. The Aim case in Taupo and that Korean tourist who was killed on the West Coast just because he was Asian come to mind. There have been many more. This I find most disturbing.

    I know a couple of cases in my acquaintance who have recently cancelled honeymoons in NZ and Australia and opted for Indonesia and Thailand instead because “they’re safer for tourists”. Go figure. MFAT would tell you otherwise.

    But maybe they are right.

    Getting back to IB’s post; if sentencing is not going to stop this type of crime then what will?

    If you rewind the perp’s life and find out where he went wrong then what would you do? Who has the guts to do this extensively for each crime and make plans to “nip it in the bud”?

    This isn’t about financial poverty. Poor people don’t become violent criminals to feed their families. Nobody holds up a supermarket at gunpoint and demands bread, butter and baked beans. Drug, alcohol, sex, fast cars perhaps, but not food for the kids.

    I doubt any government would have the will to fix this – and if they did everyone would be up in arms about the intrusion into their lives. TV ads depicting violence as unacceptable certainly won’t do the job.

  9. Ag 9

    No one has blamed Grand Theft Auto yet.

    People are slipping.

  10. higherstandard 10

    Really good post IB – I’d hope that most of the country would agree with you.

    It’s tragic for the young mans family and friends that his life can be ended in such a sensless way while he’s just doing his job.

    Not sure if we can conclusively say that it wouldn’t have been stopped by tougher sentencing – that remains to be seen when more details become available – but the general sentiment regarding Law and Order being a political football is spot on.

  11. keith 11

    The psyche of the ‘tough on crime’ crowd is disturbing. The shared perspective appears to be that:

    a) a person’s morality is an immutable quantity established
    at conception.

    b) people are either ‘good’ or ‘bad’,

    therefore law and order is reduced to identifying the bad eggs
    and locking them up for good.


  12. higherstandard 12


    That may be the perspective of some of the “tough on crime” crowd as you call them many more I suspect simply get somewhat depressed by the number of repeat offenders and want the toughness and weight of the law to fall on this group.

    In my opinion what is and will always be the critical issue is how best to turn the first offender away from committing the first and then next and the next etc crime……… and there’s no easy answer.

  13. John BT 13

    Recently there was a little boy who squeezed a dogs testicles and was bitten by the dog. The mother wanted the dog destroyed, even though the boy had a history of such behaviour. I think the mother should have been put down. I will bet $10 to a pinch of possum poo that the kid will end up doing serious jail time in 15 or 20 years time.
    The cause of such behaviour can surely be traced to the lack of a good male role model at home, the lack of suitable discipline and proper outlets for male aggression (even for a 3 year old ).
    So, if you want to blame, it is hard to go past the feminazis now running our government because they are responsible for the idiot policies now prevalent in society.
    Like it or not there are people out there who are just bad. Very bad. All the bleeding hearts will do nothing to stop them raping and killing. It is these scum who should be kept out of society forever.
    I think that if there was a solution to crime and a good way to deal with the scum of society it would have been found by now. In effect we do what we can.

  14. marco 14

    Hang on am I missing something, Isnt the first obligation of a government to protect its citizens?
    No matter what went on in an offenders past the public must be kept safe from violent repeat offenders.
    Yes there needs to be better prevention and rehabilition and addressing poverty would be a huge step in reducing the occurances of these offences but for those already proven to shun rehabilitation then they should be locked up and never see the light of day again.

  15. Rex Widerstrom 15

    keith suggests:

    The shared perspective appears to be that:

    a) a person’s morality is an immutable quantity established at conception.

    Not quite (they’ve seen “The Pursuit of Happyness” and so believe the odd poor dark-coloured person can rise above their poverty) though they certainly feel that there’s some sort of genetic predisposition to crime.

    But what they do believe unshakeably is that if a person makes one mistake in their lives – whether that be accepting the first hit off a syringe or doing their first robbery – they are set irreversibly on that path forever more.

    Thus the best thing would be to keep them permanently incarcerated from the first time they enter the “justice” system.

    But since those damned bleeding heart liberals insist on ridiculous notions like parole we’re forced to let some of them have a second chance.

    Then whether or not they reoffend has no relationship to whether we’re able to change their external environment and their response to stressors and everything to do with whether we’ve made incarceration sufficiently unpleasant so that their unwillingness to return always gets the upper hand over their burning desire to offend again.

    Because, of course, people never change, let alone can be changed, if only we took an intelligent interest in how.

    BLiP recalls:

    Ah yes – that was the poor chap killed by a policeman for breaking windows.

    Much like the thug gunned down in Lower Hutt prior to that when he presented a clear and present danger to police when he emerged at the other end of his hallway holding a weight bar.

    But hey, National and Labour both compete to promise us more adrenalin-fuelled 19 year old high school dropouts armed with guns and uniforms, so crime will solve itself eventually.

  16. Simon 16

    More of the same from the Labour agitators – soft on crime. Why? What aren’t they telling us?

    To the Labour agitators with their 150 year-old view of class struggle, murdering a tourist is a legitimate act of resistance against the colonial oppressor committed by a member of the oppressed masses yearning to break free.

    They know that this view is unpalatable to the general public, so they couch their propaganda in terms of “re-thinking crime and punishment” and similar efforts to minimise the punishment meted out to the offender, who they secretly regard as a hero of the revolution, a soldier manning the barricades, however unwittingly.

    Before voting Labour or voting Green, keep in mind that these people believe that violent crime is a necessary social upheaval to achieve their political objective of socialist revolution.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    The Police Minister is an idiot.

    From the Herald: “Ms Collins said she had confidence investigations would establish how the incident unfolded and prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future.

    The first is fair enough. Let’s hope so.

    The second is just an opposition politician on autopilot. Judith, it’s not your job to make false promises any more, about things you can’t control. Get to grips with reality, please.

    Disbanding the Armed Offenders Squad might “prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future.” Or removing guns from the police altogether. Unfortunately, there might then be other tragedies instead. So that’s not going to happen.

    There aren’t easy answers for Ministers, only for talkback callers. Which do you want to be, Judith?

  18. gobsmacked 18

    In fairness, I’ll revise that: it’s another case (all too common nowadays) of a journalist with reading comprehension problems.

    Here’s what Collins actually said in her press release.

    “I have confidence that these investigations will establish how the incident unfolded and provide lessons that might prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future,’ Ms Collins says.

    “Might” is pretty important. Are there any sub-editors left at the Herald now?

  19. toad 19

    gobsmacked, here is my take on this very sad incident.

    This relates to Police operational policy, so I’m not sure it is Collins’ prerogative as Minsiter to get too involved anyway. And I’m pleased that her press release did actually say “might” because shr has no power to prevent such incidents occuring in future.

    But I really do hope that, as I have suggested in my post on g.blog, that the Police review their operational policy regarding pursuits. This started as a relatively minor offence of a bag snatch, and ended with am innocent man losing his life by being shot by a police officer.

  20. Bill 20

    Tell me this is a misprint ffs! Or that I’m reading it wrong or…..something.

    From the police media release


    “‘We said yesterday that, no matter who fired the fatal shot, the events of January 23 in and around Auckland were tragic for all concerned,’ Mr Shortland said.

    ‘They are no less tragic today for the Naitoko family and are more tragic for the officers involved who, it must be remembered, were where they were doing their duties because a man with a loaded gun chose to rampage throughout the region without regard to anyone’s safety.”

    More tragic for the officers, because………(vomit anyone?)

  21. Rex Widerstrom 21

    Tsk, that whole Mai Lai massacre thing was an absolute tragedy for the noble soldiers, too, who after all were only in Vietnam doing their duties because Viet Cong with loaded guns chose to rampage throughout the region without regards to anyone’s safety.

    It’s called “collateral damage” I believe. Nothing to see here, move along.

  22. Johnty Rhodes 22

    BLIP – seems the Chinese police can shoot the crimnal correctly, not the innocent. So in effect the police have executed a person, an innocent while the peice of shit who caused all of this is getting operations in hospital.

    As I said, should have blown the bastard up long before it reached the NW Motorway.

  23. I just hope some politicians don’t use this tragic event as a political football, or that they turn this into an anti police thing.

  24. Bill 24

    Why would a politician use any event to criticise the police? They tend to break their backs bending over backwards to excuse and accommodate them.

    Any ‘anti-police thing’ as you term it, is being nurtured by statements straight from the horse’s mouth in this instance.

  25. Trevor Mallard 25

    Didn’t Collins and Key cross the line into becoming responsible for operational matters when they instructed the Commissioner that police that would otherwise be spread around the country based on a needs based formula be redirected to Manukau?

  26. Bill:

    Your kidding me right?

    Labour/Greens/Maori party are always jumping on the anti police band wagon.

  27. higherstandard 27


    “Tell me this is a misprint ffs! Or that I?m reading it wrong or?..something.”

    You’re misinterpreting the comments I believe…..

    The release is suggesting that the events are more tragic in relation to the officers involved yesterday than they were today as it looks likely that one of them will be finding out that they accidentally shot.

    The intent of the release is not to suggest that it’s more tragic for the officers than the family of the deceased – which I think you may have taken as the message from the release ?


    T Mallard

    If you are the parliamentarian I trust you can moderate the behaviour you display in the house in representing both your party and the public. You have bought parliament and your profession into disrepute over the last few years please resign or improve your performance.

  28. IrishBill 28

    Trevor, there’s no doubt you can argue National has engaged a cynical and selective application of responsibility and have left themselves open to exactly the tactical criticisms they engaged in while in opposition (with the added bonus for Labour that hypocrisy has been added to the mix). However that kind of shallow political point-scoring is corrosive to democracy and ultimately corrosive to Left values as in the long-term it engenders a climate of reactionary politics. Far better to identify areas in which such point-scoring is counter productive and make it clear they will be treated without partisan sensationalism. Obviously Law and Order is one of these areas.

    There are plenty of National Party policies and actions that are fundamentally at odds with the interests and values of the majority of New Zealanders. Most of these are economic. The opposition would do itself a favour by differentiating itself by focusing on those rather than the right’s side shows.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    More tragic for the officers, because (vomit anyone?)

    I’m not sure why it would be ‘more’ tragic, but it is tragic nonetheless. AOS members are senior and career officers, who it must be said are fairly dedicated to their job. I would consider that dedication a dedication to keeping us (the GP) safe.

    It’s very tragic that someone in such a situation ended up killing an innocent bystander when trying to prevent an armed and violent person from killing someone. Bill – what is wrong with that?

    JohnBT – as a bleeding heart liberal, I agree with your first point. Violence towards animals is a common indicator of socio/psychopathic behaviour, and the boy’s mother is clearly an idiot. Wouldn’t have her put down though, but I’m sure that’s just rhetoric on your part. As for the rest of your comment, you seem to be yearning for a time when Men were Men, and sheep were nervous; while the good old days of your youth in the ’20s might have had a rosy glow about them, reailty wasn’t quite the same, and it’s a simplistic view that is beyond reason. And blaming the ‘feminazis’? Jeez, what a limp-dick cop-out. Grow some bloody spine!

  30. Agree wholeheartedly with your comments in the initial post Irish Bill – the person to blame for the death of Halatau Naitoko is one Stephen Hohepa McDonald, 50, unemployed of New Lynn. Had McDonald not set off on a P-fuelled rampage on Friday afternoon, Halatau Naitoko would, in every likelihood, be alive, well and anonymous today. Spare a thought too for the AOS officer(s) involved, who must be deeply traumatised by what is the worst outcome for a police officer.

  31. Rich 31

    It’s the job of government to ensure that the police have appropriate procedures and training to do an effective and safe job. There’s certainly a question raised by recent events that that may not be the case with firearms procedures.

    This *is* political. Those on the right, like the foam-flecked commenters above, believe that basically, the cops can shoot who they like, especially if they have brown skin. One could expect that Labour would take a more sensible view and would seek to ensure that procedures were in place. Sadly, throughout their nine years in office they pretty much allowed the police to do their own thing and saw accountability as “too hard” for them to deal with.

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