Minister of Police is engaged in a relentless crackdown on the gangs – but look at how seized money is being distributed

Your Point of Order team delighted at the words chosen by Police Minister Poto Williams to brandish the government’s law-and-order colours.

Her statement was headed Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime and kicked off by advising us that … 

  • Operation Tauwhiro (did you know anything about it?) has been extended until March 2022
  • Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:
    • 987 firearms seized
    • $4.99 million in cash seized
    • 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence

And then we are given a welcome assurance: 

Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful organised crime operation, Police Minister Poto Williams says.


Earlier today, we had learned from Stuff that a judge has questioned the value of a controversial Mongrel Mob-led meth rehab programme, when (he contended) the gang is responsible for most local meth offending, and the programme is not approved by Corrections.

According to the Stuff report, the programme has received $2.75million from the government’s Proceeds of Crime fund, prompting outrage from the Police Association and senior local police officers (but not the top cops at Police HQ in Wellington, not too far from the Beehive, and nor from our oh-so-caring PM, who is reported to have supported the funding).

We may suppose a substantial chunk of the $4.99 million in cash seized by law-enforcement authorities went into this mob-led drug programme.

Poto’s statement was among those recorded today on … 

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Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful organised crime operation, Police Minister Poto Williams says.

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So what did the judge say in the drug case in Napier District Court and what were the  circumstances?

Judge Russell Collins made the remarks when sentencing Mob member Damian Tipu, 28. 

Tipu had sought a discount to his sentence for meth dealing and other offences because he had attended the Kahukura programme run by Mongrel Mob life member Harry Tam’s company H2R Research and Consulting Ltd.

The Stuff article invites us to read more on the topic: 

‘History of meth’ among topics to be taught in Mob-led drug rehab programme
Mob-led rehab will only ‘line the pockets of gang leaders’ – Police Association
Police support $2.75m funding of Mob rehab programme
PM one of the ministers who approved $2.75 million funding for Mongrel Mob-led rehab programme

The judge said:

“Every day we see in this court methamphetamine charges and there is one entity which dominates over anyone else as being behind the methamphetamine trade in Hawke’s Bay, and that’s the Mongrel Mob.”

As for the drug tests which the defendant claimed to have passed , these were carried out internally and just one result was shared with his probation officer.

“Self-reporting drug-testing?” the judge said.

He said there was no evidence of the training or qualifications of those running the programme, and it was not a programme approved by Corrections.

But hey. This should not be allowed to undermine ministerial braying about the success of Operation Tauwhiro, which (Poto Williams said) shows the impact the government’s record investment in Police continues to have.

Williams is bringing us the encouraging news that we have the largest Police workforce ever, with 700 additional officers alone to be focused on organised crime.

And then she told us what she thinks of gangs in somewhat unkindly terms: 

“Gangs destroy lives, but we will not let them destroy communities. This Government is very clear that violent gangs and other criminals cannot continue to threaten, intimidate, and exploit our communities. Operation Tauwhiro will continue to disrupt and prevent firearms-related violence by criminal gangs and organised crime groups.”

She gave us a rundown on what the government is doing to tackle this:

“Already, we’ve committed to introducing Firearms Prohibition Orders to protect the public from firearms harm, hitting gangs where it hurts – their pockets by amending the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act to give the Police new powers to seize assets from organised criminals, and seizing $500 million in cash and assets from gangs in the last four years alone.

“New Zealanders have the right to feel safe in their homes and their communities. Operation Tauwhiro will go a long way to making New Zealanders safer by taking guns off gangs that can cause so much harm and fear in our communities and puts police officers at risk,” Poto Williams said.

Wow.  We feel safer already.


One thought on “Minister of Police is engaged in a relentless crackdown on the gangs – but look at how seized money is being distributed

  1. In February, Ardern was quizzed in Parliament by Act leader David Seymour about why the police programme to combat gangs was labelled “Operation Tauwhiro”. He pointed out “tauwhiro” means “to tend or care for” and asked the Prime Minister if she actually believed “that violent criminals who sell P need to be tended and cared for”.

    Ardern replied — adopting her entirely-detached-from-reality pose: “If we want to make a difference to the young people who join gangs in New Zealand we have to demonstrate that there are alternatives for them… that they can find a place to grow their potential without joining criminal organisations.”


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