Police Minister Poto Williams is becoming a liability for the Ardern government, one of several poorly performing ministers (think of David Clark, Kris Faafoi, Phil Twyford).
Williams displayed her quality as Police Minister once more in Parliament this week as she faced questions on law and order. Not surprisingly her performance (or lack of it) is beginning to attract media attention— although those in line for government handouts tend to steer clear of anything that smacks of a sacking.
This is how Hansard recorded her latest exchange, during which most government MPs kept their heads well down.
Hon MARK MITCHELL (National—Whangaparāoa) to the Minister of Police: Does she stand by her statement, “I reject the premise that gang tensions have increased under this Government’s watch”; if so, how does she reconcile that with reported police intelligence, which states parts of the country have experienced unprecedented levels of gang violence in the past year?
Hon POTO WILLIAMS (Minister of Police): I stand by the full context of all of my answers at question time. In answer to the member’s second question, gangs have been a feature of New Zealand society for well over half a century. What police intelligence shows us is that the arrival of the 501s in 2015 has fundamentally changed the nature of gangs, making them much more overt and sophisticated. This was responded to at the time by cutting police numbers. That’s why, since 2017, we have funded the largest increase in organised crime staff, deployed 1,400 more cops across the country, and introduced legislation to give police more tools to address gang violence.
Hon Mark Mitchell: Why do gangs have more guns under her watch?
Hon POTO WILLIAMS: I would like the member to quantify that for me please. Continue reading “Police Minister under fire on gangs and guns – and attention is drawn to the PM’s gamble”
For successive days in Parliament this week National’s Mark Mitchell has been asking Police Minister Poto Williams whether gang violence has increased or decreased under her watch—and whether gang membership has risen in that time.
Adopting a technique favoured by her leader, Williams is apt to say “I reject the premise of that question”.
It’s a neat way of answering without providing the information that has been requested.
Here’s how Hansard recorded the exchange on this point: Continue reading “How Poto Williams rejected a premise and denied Nats the data sought about gang membership”
Brian Tamaki’s grasp of New Zealand history does not match the magnitude of his chutzpah.
News media are reporting the Destiny Church leader has been taken into police custody and his group, the Freedom and Rights Coalition, has broadcast this on social media.
This puts a name to the Police announcement that a 63-year-old man was arrested in relation to a breach of bail conditions following an event in Christchurch earlier this month.
The police said the man was due to appear in the Auckland District Court via audio visual link later today.
According to RNZ:
Tamaki is facing charges of breaching Covid lockdown restrictions and a condition of bail was that he not attend further protests.
Tamaki and his wife Hannah earlier posted a separate video in which he said the police were coming to arrest him.
Was that a joyous hallelujah we heard ringing around the nation? Continue reading “Tamaki is a tad late with his “political prisoner” claim – but it isn’t too late for him to try martyrdom”
Newstalk ZB broadcaster Mike Yardley, writing about his recent interview with Police Minister Poto Williams, said he had been keen to learn why she was so dead against Armed Response Teams.
But some of Williams’ replies during the interview raised another issue: who does the Member for Christchurch East represent?
We emailed that question to her office last Wednesday. We have yet to receive a reply.
In the Newstalk ZB interview, Yardley put it to Williams that – along with the Police Commissioner – she was placing far too much stock on the woke radical pressure groups who purport to represent the public pulse on policing issues.
He mentioned lobby groups such as Just Speak, Action Station and People Against Prisons Aotearoa, describing them as
“… a bit like the cycling lobby, highly organised, highly adept at capturing councils, flooding them with submissions, and courting favour.”
Yardley reckons these groups are driving the anti-cop agenda and fuelling the hostility to armed police. Continue reading “While we wonder who Poto Williams represents, let’s muse on why Greg O’Connor missed out on the Police post”
Yes, we are aware of the Maori Party’s aversion to Parliamentary questions from Opposition MPs which aim to flush the PM and her government into the open on their programme of incorporating the “Treaty partnership” in their reform programme.
The Maori Party insists those questions are racist and has pressed the Speaker to rule them out of order.
It has also challenged the Speaker and Parliamentary protocol through expressions of dissent which culminated in one co-leader being ordered from the House for performing a defiant haka and the other walking out to show her support for her colleague.
This has won headlines around the world.
Not bad for an outfit which won 1.2 per cent of the party vote at the 2020 general election.
Māori Party co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi have also won publicity this week by declaring their intent to fight the Government’s proposed laws targeting gangs. Continue reading “Police and their Minister duck Maori Party question which drew attention to something troubling about children and the cops”
A headline across the top of two pages of our Dominion-Post today brought stunning news:
It blared: Children hit despite anti-smacking law.
Gee – who would have imagined that?
A variant of that headline can be found on the Stuff website: Physical punishment of children still ‘fairly common’, despite anti-smacking law change – study
The article recalls that .. .
In an effort to improve child health outcomes in New Zealand, the Government introduced anti-smacking legislation in 2007 that prohibited the physical punishment of children.
Has the prohibition succeeded in sparing miscreant children from being strapped, slapped, smacked, whacked or otherwise physically chastised?
Apparently not (and is anyone seriously surprised?) Continue reading “Stuff and nonsense – reporter seems to think crime will stop when Parliament passes a law to make it illegal”
We have opened a book, among members of the Point of Order team, on how long it will be before the PM offers to sort out the land dispute at Wellington’s Shelly Bay and (to win the double) how much the settlement will cost taxpayers.
Just a few weeks ago a bunch called Mau Whenua – who are fighting the sale of land at Shelly Bay – were reported to be pinning their hopes on the Māori Land Court to sort things out.
A Stuff report says Mau Whenua is made up mostly of members from Wellington iwi Taranaki Whānui opposed to an earlier sale of Taranaki Whānui land at Shelly Bay to developer Ian Cassels.
The $500 million Shelly Bay project, led by Cassels, is arguably Wellington’s most-controversial development in living memory due to allegations of the illegal sale of Māori land there, perceptions Wellington City Council bent to the will of Cassels, and concerns the seaside site and road to it can’t handle the intensification.
Mau Whenua was due to appear in the High Court in March in an action aimed at overturning the sale.
Alas, a shortage of money became an impediment to this course of action through the legal system when significant help with funding to pay the $2.2m required to continue the case was withdrawn. Continue reading “Squatters at Shelly Bay learn from the PM’s Ihumātao intervention and hunker down for the long haul”
A warning was sounded at the beginning of a recent New Zealand Herald report about the crimes of a couple of blokes who – according to the Indigenous Pacific Uprising – should not be imprisoned.
The warning was in capital letters.
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING – THIS STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTIONS OF VIOLENT CRIME.
The two blokes in question were jailed for their part in what the Herald described as
“ … a brutal kidnap where the victim was tortured over 12 hours – his pinky finger cut off with secateurs, both feet shot and his naked body burned with a blowtorch while he was tied up and gagged.
“His attackers, who believed he had robbed another person of “thousands of dollars”, burned his eyes with cigarettes, urinated on him and beat him for hours in a bid to get him to disclose where the money was.” Continue reading “Let’s forget about prison and see what a term in charm school can achieve – or will crime disappear in decolonised NZ?”
The speed with which US protests over a ghastly death in police custody have morphed into something multi-dimensional and international precludes easy analysis.
But the triggering event, a citizen of a free country dying at the hands of the police is always shocking and invariably depressing. It doesn’t seem to matter much that in this case (and one hopes the next one, because there is likely to be a next one) the authorities are doing the right thing: investigating and, in this instance, deciding that there is evidence to prosecute the policeman. Continue reading “Are America’s troubles part of a pattern or a new twist? A bit of both perhaps “
The Waikato and Waipa Rivers have been declared off limits during Level 3 of the Covid-19 emergency, prohibiting food gathering and all recreational activities on the waterways..
Elsewhere around the country people have been barred from going to some beaches by vigilante groups who set up checkpoints to impede the public.
In the case of the two rivers, the prohibition has been imposed by a former truck driver who now rejoices in the title of Māori King Tuheitia.
He has declared the rivers are subject to a rahui, a cultural and spiritual prohibition. It came into effect on Monday.
The king’s authority to make a rahui binding on anyone who feels they should not be constrained by it is dubious.
Point of Order hoped Local Government New Zealand would guide us on King Tuheitia’s entitlement to bar people from swimming or fishing in the rivers or boating on them. Continue reading “Maori monarch flexes muscle to make waterways off-limits but we may muse on the matter of legality”