The Parliament Protests and the Posie Parker Rally have exposed the extent to which the Police frontline is under-resourced and under-funded.
Thomas Cranmer writes –
Soaring levels of crime and high profile protests at Parliament and the Posie Parker rally have made policing a political hot topic over the past three years. Following last week’s budget, Police Minister Ginny Andersen announced that the government was nearing its goal of recruiting an additional 1800 frontline officers, as pledged in 2017.
According to Andersen, the new funding will guarantee the maintenance of the current ratio of at least one officer for every 480 New Zealanders. In 2017, the ratio stood at one officer for every 544 individuals.
These headline figures, however, can be misleading. Take, for instance, Auckland City District. By geography, it is the smallest of the 12 national police districts but it has the largest population. The Auckland City District stretches between Herne Bay and Freeman’s Bay to the north, St Heliers to the East, Onehunga in the south and Avondale in the west. It includes Waiheke and Great Barrier Islands. Continue reading “THOMAS CRANMER: New Zealand’s Thin Blue Line”→
“…overwhelmingly it is men who are the biggest threat to women and children when it comes to violence and I needed to make that clarification.”
Marama is the Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence and says she wants us to have these “hard and uncomfortable conversations” (which is reminiscent of what Metiria Turei fatefully wanted when she publicly confessed to ripping off the benefit system.)
Law and order is back as a key political issue as gang warfare and ram raids in Auckland dominate the headlines.
National accusing the Labour government of being “soft” on crime has grabbed the initiative with its call for a crackdown on gangs and its proposal to give the police fresh powers to deal with them. As a consequence National has gained further ground as Labour slips in the polls to new lows.
Meanwhile Police Minister Poto Williams has looked more and more a weak link in the Labour Cabinet, facing calls by Opposition parties for her to be sacked. She could be top of the list on the soon-to-be-announced Cabinet reshuffle.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has responded by saying the government is “considering” more action to crack down on violent gang behaviour but has dismissed the idea of a ban on wearing gang patches in public.
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.
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?
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.
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.”
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.