I am always terribly suspicious whenever a politician declares new laws to fight ‘da gangs’. This Government in particular has been very effective in passing Orwellian mass surveillance powers all under the guise of fighting ‘da gangs’ and I suspect this latest announcement of getting tough on ‘da gangs’ is just another assault on our civil rights masquerading as get tough on crime rhetoric for the election.
First let’s point out the absurdity of passing more tough on crime laws when the crime rate is at a 35 year low. God forbid what National would be suggesting if the crime rate was actually high. Summary execution for anyone caught breaking 8pm curfew in South Auckland?
I think the first trick of eroding our civil rights without us really noticing is the language. For example, you could read this…
“We want to ensure that Police and other agencies have the tools they need to hold gangs to account, while breaking the cycle of offending by preventing young people from joining these organisations, and helping current members to exit gang life.
“As gangs continue to expand and adapt, law enforcement and legislation needs to be strengthened, while we also require a long-term plan to address what is a complex issue, to halt the intergenerational grip which gang life has on families, and to reduce the number of victims, both within these families and in the wider community.”
Known members of gangs comprise 0.1 per cent (4,000 people) of the population aged 17 and over, but in 2013 were responsible for 25 per cent of homicide related charges and in the first quarter of 2014 have been charged with:
- 34 per cent of class A/B drug offences
- 36 per cent of kidnapping and abduction offences
- 25 per cent of aggravated robbery/robbery offences
- 26 per cent of grievous assault offences
These gang members average 53 offences in their lifetime, and the 50 members with the highest number of charges average 229 charges each.
…and you could be totally forgiven for believing that this was a justifiable and strong move against those awful gangs and what are you going on about you bleeding heart pinko.
You’d be forgiven for that.
Anne Tolley’s language conjures up images of the Mongrel Mob, Black Power, the Head Hunters, Triads, etc etc. That’s why it’s so terribly deceptive, because the definition of ‘a gang’ is the following…
“As per the “Gangs and Organised Crime Bill 10-2 (2009)” dictates: Every person commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years who participates in an organised criminal group—
“(a) knowing that 3 or more people share any 1 or more of the objectives (the particular objective or particular objectives) described in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (2) (whether or not the person himself or herself shares the particular objective or particular objectives); and
“(b) either knowing that his or her conduct contributes, or being reckless as to whether his or her conduct may contribute, to the occurrence of any criminal activity; and
“(c) either knowing that the criminal activity contributes, or being reckless as to whether the criminal activity may contribute, to achieving the particular objective or particular objectives of the organised criminal group.”
…that’s right ladies and gentlemen. The definition of a ‘gang’ isn’t the Mongrel Mob or Black Power or Head Hunters, the definition is 3 people who know each other. We’ve handed vast unchecked search and surveillance powers to the Police because we were all told they would be used against the bad people, the truth is that under the Police definition of who a gang is, it opens up almost everyone in NZ.
With that in mind, this new crack down starts looking a little less warm and a lot more chilly…
- A multi-agency Gang Intelligence Centre led by Police to collect and combine intelligence on real-time gang activity to support investigation, prevention and enforcement, while also identifying vulnerable children and family members who may need social service support. It will also identify young people at risk of joining gangs, so that agencies can target interventions to help steer them away from gang life.
That sounds an awful lot like real time mass surveillance, and seeing as a gang is defined as 3 people who know each other, you could end up via social media friend networks being able to spy on a huge chunk of NZers. In real time.
For ‘investigation’ and ‘prevention’ with ‘enforcement’ coming up last. That’s an awful lot of probing and spying on people who haven’t in fact been found guilty of anything that we are just handing over to the Police and in light of them having 7 servers based in NZ from the Corporate Hacking company that specialise in mass surveillance for Police Departments, it seems plans have been laid in place for sometime.
There is the usual talk of seizing peoples assets. Let’s not get too excited about that and a far lot more concerned. Firstly the promised millions never eventuate...
Not one cent of the millions of dollars worth of assets seized from criminals has been funnelled into drug treatment or resources to fight organised crime as promised when the enabling law came into force.
Nearly $150 million worth of homes, cars, boats, cash, jewellery and other valuables has been restrained since the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act was passed in December 2009, of which $27 million has been forfeited to the Crown.
Of that, just $10.2 million has actually been placed in the Government coffers, according to figures released under the Official Information Act.
Secondly, the Police have managed all this asset grabbing by lowering the evidential threshold from beyond reasonable doubt to balance of probabilities. That allows the Police a frightening amount of power to seize your assets on bugger all evidence. Where are ACT and all our free-market-small- Government-property-ownership-trumps-all-zealots protesting about that remarkable upgrade of state powers over the individual?
Why the hell is Jamie Whyte screaming about Maori being privileged French aristocrats when the State has reshaped the entire power dynamic between itself and the individual?
Just when you thought this encroachment on our Civil Liberties was over, Anne Tolley mentions this oddity near the end of her declaration of war on us all…
To prevent and disrupt drug trafficking within New Zealand and between the North and South Islands, Police and Justice will investigate a pilot of drug detector dogs at key domestic ports (maritime and air).
Pray tell Anne isn’t declaring war on the gentle Waiheke stoners? Cops with drug dogs stationed at Ferry’s? When will it be trains and public buses? Seeing as cannabis is the most used illegal drug in NZ, are we certain giving the Police the power to randomly sniff search you in public is a step in the right direction here? Isn’t that a bewildering jump in the war on drugs to allow drug searches in public?
So let’s just see, if I can just get this entire cluster fuck completely straight? After the NZ Police blew $14million dollars on spying in the Urewera Terror raid‘, they had to find ‘Maori and lefty terrorists’ to justify that extraordinary budget blow out. Finding those ‘terrorists’ however required illegal spying. John Key responds to that illegal spying by ramming through retrospective legislation that removes all guilt by the cops for illegally spying AND it gives them vast new powers to break into people’s homes and spy on them with the barest of legal oversights. John Key does this again when the GCSB are caught illegally spying on over 80 NZers and rams through law that legalises mass surveillance by the GCSB which it now seems post-Snowden is effectively being run by the NSA.
In the shadow of that clusterfuck, we now get told that the Police will have more powers to spy on more of us all under the guise of protecting us from organised crime???
The only ones happy with yesterday’s announcement will be the sleepy hobbits who believe anything National tell them, the secret intelligence agencies of NZ who are about to fulfil their franchise agreement with the NSA to be the first fully surveilled country in the world and the private prisons who will see higher profits with increased incarceration rates.