PM reverses over Bennett | The Jackal

4 Sept 2017

PM reverses over Bennett

Yesterday, the Minister of Police, Paula Bennett, said that gang members have "fewer human rights" and National would change the law to allow Police searches of gang members whenever they wanted.

Bennett also announced a law change to allow the confiscation of property if gang members couldn’t prove how they acquired their possessions.

However today, even though Bill English was right there next to the deluded Paula Bennett when she made their stupid announcement, the Prime Minister is now reversing over what his Minister said.

Newshub reports:

Paula Bennett's human rights comments 'not right' - Bill English

Paula Bennett's suggestion some Kiwis have "fewer human rights than others" has been described by her boss as "not an accurate reflection" of National's hardline new gangs policy.

Ms Bennett made the comment on Sunday while she and Prime Minister Bill English announced an $82 million plan to fight methamphetamine. It includes new powers for police to enact searches without a warrant.

English and Bennett were effectively announcing laws that already exist.

"It probably does breach the rights of some of those criminals but they have to have had a serious violent offense behind them already and a firearm charge and on the basis of that we are going ahead with it," Ms Bennett said.

Asked if she believed criminals had human rights, Ms Bennett said "some have fewer human rights than others when they are creating a string of victims behind them".

She later said on Twitter "scum gangs that peddle drugs don't deserve protection".

Of course this is a complete dog whistle of a policy announcement, because Police can already search for illegal weapons without a warrant if they suspect somebody to be in breach of the Arms Act 1983. They can also search for drugs without a warrant if they suspect somebody of having illegal drugs.

Furthermore, Police can also already seize property they suspect has been acquired with the proceeds of crime… so there's really no point to National’s announcement other than to try and gain attention.

National getting tough on crime in the lead up to an election is nothing new... however the backlash against their latest proposals may have come as some surprise, because the bumbling old Bill English has had to pour cold water all over Bennett’s demented blathering.

Appearing on The AM Show on Monday morning, Mr English said Ms Bennett's words were "not the right way to describe the actual proposal".

"It's not really a matter of human rights - it's a matter of the legal rights around the search. Those rights would be scrutinised by the court."

He called it a "very good policy… in the context of gang activity related to serious crime and methamphetamine", and said the "word game around human rights and legal rights" wasn't as important as the goal of the policy - to wipe out meth and gang violence.

Wipe out meth? Under the National led government the complete opposite has occurred. The P epidemic is now more entrenched and pervasive than ever before, because of stupid politicians who have no real idea about what to do.

"The actual proposal is about these firearms protection orders. They're designed to deal with a situation which really does concern police, where identified gang premises and gang people have accumulated significant amounts of unlicensed and illegal firearms.

Here’s the actual law that gives the Police the ability to search for firearms without a warrant.

18 Warrantless searches associated with arms

(1) A constable who has reasonable grounds to suspect that any 1 or more of the circumstances in subsection (2) exist in relation to a person may, without a warrant, do any or all of the following:
(a) search the person:
(b) search any thing in the person’s possession or under his or her control (including a vehicle):
(c) enter a place or vehicle to carry out any activity under paragraph (a) or (b):
(d) seize and detain any arms found:
(e) seize and detain any licence under the Arms Act 1983 that is found.

There are also other laws allowing search and seizure of firearms and a lot more to the Search and Surveillance Act as well… so you’ve really got to wonder who is advising the National party on it’s proposed law reforms. It seems as if they’re under pressure and just making things up.

"Police want the ability to get in there and search without a warrant. A select committee of Parliament proposed that a number of months ago with agreement from a number of the parties, so it's not a new idea.

English is correct about one thing; it’s not a new idea... it’s already an enacted law that governs the Police in their everyday opperations.

"But the way it was described by Ms Bennett is not an accurate reflection of what it is - which is essentially being able to make a search under quite particular circumstances without a warrant."

The Prime Minister was right there with her when Bennett “described” the policy. Why didn’t English correct her then?

The fact that the Minister of Police doesn’t seem to know the law makes National look pathetic!

But what is even more telling is that English just let Bennett keep frothing at the mouth, making him look completely incompetent. Is the PM also ignorant of the law of the land?

It really is time to do something about the P epidemic in New Zealand and that doesn’t include announcing laws that already exist.

Reducing drug abuse doesn’t include framing the war on drugs as winnable through the same old tired measures that have been proven to be ineffectual both here and abroad.

If you would like to see some actual progress to reduce drug harm and gang crime in New Zealand, it’s clearly time to change the government.