Buzz from the Beehive: greenhouse gases are in the govt’s gunsights – and (good grief!) so are the gangs

Climate Change Minister James Shaw today announced New Zealand’s first three emissions budgets, describing this as another milestone on of the journey toward a zero-carbon future.

Having these binding budgets in place was a critical part of the government’s strategy to rapidly eliminate the pollution that causes climate change, he said.

Shaw also confirmed the Emissions Reduction Plan will be released on Monday 16 May, setting out exactly how the Government plans to deliver on the first emissions budget. The Minister of Finance will outline the first investments from the Climate Emergency Response Fund on the same day.

But despite the importance of the government’s assault on pollution, we were more fascinated by a pre-Budget announcement from  Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi and  Police Minister Poto Williams. 

The law-and-order package further increases Police numbers, addresses gang violence and extends successful rehabilitation programmes to break the cycle of offending and entering a life of crime.

The budget number that matters is that the Government is investing over $562 million over four years into Police (“so they continue to have the resources they need to keep our communities safe”), which “is in addition to our already-record investment in Police.”

More cops are promised but the government also will invest $94 million in tackling gangs and organised crime while working with communities to address the social factors that lead to people joining gangs in the first place.

The timing is fascinating:  just a few days earlier a Newshub-Reid Research poll found most Kiwis think Police Minister Poto Williams is too soft on crime.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is standing by her beleaguered colleague and Williams described the poll respondents’ judgement of her as unfair, saying:

“For me, you’re either soft or you’re a thug or you’re smart and I choose to be smart.”

National Party Police spokesperson Mark Mitchell (what did you expect him to say?) sees it differently.

“I think the result of your poll clearly shows that the public has lost confidence in this Government,” he told Newshub. “They are soft on crime.”

Point of Order remains puzzled that when the PM appointed her ministers after the 2020 general election, she bypassed Greg O’Connor, a former police officer who rose to the rank of Senior Sergeant but was more widely known as President of the New Zealand Police Association.     

Wikipedia provides a quick rundown on his career.

What would we learn if Newshub– or any other journalist, come to think of it – asked him what he thinks of the government’s performance on the law-and-order front and the public’s opinion of Poto Williams.

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