Police Minister under fire on gangs and guns – and attention is drawn to the PM’s gamble

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”

Buzz from the Beehive: Williams has faith in data on Police recruiting but gang growth numbers are – a bit bent?

Police Minister Poto Williams was responsible for one of just two new ministerial press statements at time of checking on what the Beehive mob are up to.

She was obviously delighted to be able to end the week with something to crow about (she used the word “celebrated”):

Police Minister Poto Williams celebrated today the graduation of Wing 352 at the Royal New Zealand Police College, which marks the 3,000th new police officer since October 2017.

“The 79 recruits graduating from Wing 352 bring the total new officers since we took office to 3,000. The milestone reached today is a testament to our Government’s record investment in Police,” Poto Williams said.

The only other press release was from Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta, announcing more humanitarian aid for Afghanistan. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Williams has faith in data on Police recruiting but gang growth numbers are – a bit bent?”

How Poto Williams rejected a premise and denied Nats the data sought about gang membership

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”

Police and their Minister duck Maori Party question which drew attention to something troubling about children and the cops

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”

Govt goes gunning for the gangs but Nats grouch about the time it has taken and ask why firearms ban won’t be much tougher

The government’s intention to get tougher on gangs with a firearms ban triggered almost immediate statements of support from ACT and – less generously – a better-late-than-never grouch from the Nats.

The Nats, moreover, pressed for the legislation to be even tougher.

The only other announcement from the Beehive since we last posted news from that source deals with steps being taken to bring more migrant workers into the country.

About 500 Managed Isolation and Quarantine rooms will be made available for “large groups” every fortnight.

Ministers are making much of the boost they are giving to the building industry and to agriculture, horticulture and viticulture. Continue reading “Govt goes gunning for the gangs but Nats grouch about the time it has taken and ask why firearms ban won’t be much tougher”