When tough on crime goes wrong | The Jackal

24 Jul 2021

When tough on crime goes wrong

If there’s one thing that you can safely rely on, it’s right-wing politicians grandstanding with tough on crime rhetoric. It's understandable being that such propaganda is usually a sure bet, obviously because a very large proportion of the public wants to see less crime and fewer criminals in their communities.

However every once in a while the tough on crime message goes terribly awry, which is exactly what has happened for the National Party lately. Their law and order messaging has largely been lost because of Judith Collins over-egging the situation, not to mention the various missteps by National's current police spokesperson, Simeon Brown.

Crusher Collins, who is clearly fighting tooth and nail at the moment to keep her job as leader of the opposition, was again crying wolf this week when she point blank demanded that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sack her Police Minister, Poto Williams.

On Wednesday, Newshub reported:

National leader Judith Collins calls for Police Minister Poto Williams' sacking

Collins made the call after Williams was interviewed by Newstalk ZB about National MP Simeon Brown wanting to bring back Armed Response Teams (ARTs), which were trialled last year and discontinued. 

Williams was asked if she agreed with a statement issued by the group People Against Prisons Aotearoa after Police Commissioner Andrew Coster confirmed ARTs would not go ahead.

Williams said she was "not giving them the time of day", referring to People Against Prisons Aotearoa's statement, but she did not condemn Rākete's words either, which Collins says is unacceptable.

"The interview was a train wreck from beginning to end and quite frankly it is time the Prime Minister steps in to replace her with someone who is capable of advocating for and caring about police officers."

Trying to bully the Minister of Police by calling for her to be sacked over what is essentially a none-issue isn’t going to sit well with anybody but the most deluded right-wing supporter. In fact what this type of false accusation does is dilute National’s overall law and order campaigning, particularly when an opportunity to make political capital out of a topical issue does actually present itself.

However that’s not the only thing that’s been diluting what should be brand messaging for the National Party. The Government has been very proactive about developing policies concerning crime prevention, which means there just isn’t much leeway for the floundering opposition to get very tough on crime in the first place. That unfortunately hasn’t stopped them from trying though.

Last Sunday, Stuff reported:

National Party leader Judith Collins asks auditor general to investigate $2.75m for Mongrel Mob-led rehab programme

“The money should never have gone to the gang, but what makes it more concerning is that the recipient of the funds is senior Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam and his company H2R,” she said.

“This is serious. At best this is a very bad decision from a Government who would rather cosy up to gangs than keep New Zealanders safe.”

National Party police spokesman Simeon Brown also wrote to the Auditor General over the Chief Human Rights Commissioner’s $200 koha to the Waikato Mongrel Mob. Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt spoke at an event in May and a koha was laid at the pōwhiri in line with tikanga or Māori custom.

The problem for the National Party in this instance is that they’re arguing against good evidence showing that the gang-run rehabilitation program actually works. It therefore doesn’t matter how many times National MPs say that the money is going to support criminals, because the facts speak for themselves.

Most voters will realise that if a rehabilitation program results in fewer gang members using meth, then the Government should be funding it. Better yet, if that funding comes from the proceeds of crime, which essentially means that P money is being used to help people get off meth, then why would anybody oppose it?

A very high percentage of Kiwis will also have a pretty good understanding of what koha is and find it entirely acceptable for the Chief Human Rights Commissioner to provide a $200 payment at the appropriate time and place. In fact it would be more newsworthy if the Commissioner had somehow failed to make such a contribution.

In my opinion, Simeon Brown really does need to find a better bogyman than a Government official who is simply doing the right thing by following many decades of Maori protocol.

Likewise, Collins would be well advised to keep a lid on her unbridled hatred towards the Labour Party, who according to the world's third largest market research company Ipsos is now crushing National on all 20 top issues of public importance, including law and order.

The National Party should also have learnt an important lesson about too much tough on crime rhetoric. When the MSM started reporting on Michael Laws for instance, who was making similar anti-gang noises, it pretty much signalled an end to his political career.

That result could well be why most of the MSM has chosen not to report very much on National’s latest bout of unhinged bravado, not just because it isn’t very newsworthy, but also because it makes the blue “team” look unelectable and incredibly short sighted! So myopic in fact that most voters will simply look right past Crusher and her cabal of closed minded fools when deciding who should govern this great country of ours.