National Party sacrifices human rights to politics

By   /   September 4, 2017  /   15 Comments

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Bill English and Paula Bennett admitted the new powers would stretch human rights laws, but would only apply to serious criminals who had ‘fewer human rights than others’ anyway, clearly misunderstanding human rights. We should be wary when the Prime Minister and his Deputy are prepared to trade off these rights as a pawn in desperate election politics.

The National Party trumped its ‘Bootcamp’ policy this week with another ‘tough on crime’ dog whistle playing to conservative voters’ fears about illicit drugs and gangs.

The policy includes new spending of $82 million over four years, with $42million for (more) assertive policing of gang members and drugs, and $40 million for drug rehabilitation services. Treating addiction is important enough in itself. But this policy couples National’s ‘war on drugs’ with a ‘war on gangs’. It doubles down on a failed approach to the trade in methamphetamine and synthetic cannabis, out of context of wider drug and alcohol reform alternatives. It takes a ‘hard line’ approach to gangs, and drugs, that history shows makes problems worse.

The National Party policy builds on their 2016 Gang Action Plan suggesting new tough ‘anti-gang’ powers for police to search “gang members’ and criminals’” and their cars and houses at any time to check for firearms, in addition to existing powers to search for drugs without a warrant, to “march through their houses at will”.

The initiative is misdirected in many areas. It targets specific sub-cultures and punishes people for their social groupings, despite rights to freedom of organisation and association, and erodes protection against arbitrary search, arrest and detention, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

And if it’s about drugs, then why focus specifically on gangs? Gangs are far from the only manufacturers and dealers of P and synthetics. The proposal allows vague and ill-defined power to the police – who defines the members of a gang? The police? The gang? Who defines what is a gang? Does this policy extend to gang associates and hangers-on? How far does this rule extend? Are the homes of family and friends hosting gang members open to search as well? And how many times are the police entitled to search?

New Zealand apparently has more gang members per head of population than any other country. There are around 70 major gangs, and about 4000 patched gang members. Bill English mentioned a New Zealand gang register of 5000 people. The biggest gang in New Zealand is the Mongrel Mob. A third of prisoners are patched gang members, and a third of them belong to the Mongrel Mob. Gang expert, Dr Jared Gilbert says this new policy is cynical politicking, ‘sinister, dangerous and outrageous’.

Human rights are universal, indivisible, and equal. They are fundamental, applicable by virtue of being human. But this policy admits fewer human rights are owed to different members of society (usually black, poor, with intergenerational history of gang involvement). Just like the bootcamp policy, this one has strong racial and class bias.

Bill English and Paula Bennett admitted the new powers would stretch human rights laws, but would only apply to serious criminals who had ‘fewer human rights than others’ anyway, clearly misunderstanding human rights. We should be wary when the Prime Minister and his Deputy are prepared to trade off these rights as a pawn in desperate election politics.

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15 Comments

  1. Afewknowthetruth says:

    hilarious: the worst criminals in the country are National Party MPs and ministers, and the damage they do far exceeds that of all other criminals, by a factor of a thousand at least.

    War on drugs? Hilarious: officially sanctioned drugs cause more damage than all other drugs in this country.

    Rights? There is no such thing as human rights. As George Carlin highlighted: American citizens born of Japanese parents…..right this way [into a concentration camp].

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaa9iw85tW8

    • John W says:

      Human rights are awarded on a multi- tier system depending on how much you donate or support National Party predatory ideology.

      if you are rich enough you can get full NZ citizenship just for the asking without even living here.

      On the other end you have people with no income, no benefit and with serious health needs but no way of receiving treatment.

      Also cannabis addicts who are thrown into prison so a rookie cop can get brownie points. While in prison they are raped and forced to fight others for the amusement of the guards employed by the privsatised prison bosses. A growth industry.

      National pricks don’t know what Human Rights look like.

    • mary_a says:

      AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH  … Absolutely agree 100 per cent.

      Fascist Natz is a gang in it’s own intimidating bullying right, with Bennett being the right person to announce such a dark nasty policy, appealing only to the vicious side of their staunchest followers!

      However after the backlash to the policy, English is now saying Bennett got it wrong. But she didn’t!

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    Good article Rose,

    It appears National has done a u-turn again today hours after their policy and due to a possible legal human rights case against them.

    National now look so desperate.

    Talk about National Bill English calling the labour leader Jacinda Ardern “not fit to lead the country” of NZ!!!!

    We suggest English looks far to un-stable at best and directionless at worst to rely on leading us forward now.

  3. Darien Fenton says:

    But not only that ; John Key announced a war on P in 2009 and again in 2016. That went well didn’t it? And I see Paula Bennett getting a correction from English this morning saying she didn’t mean to talk about “lesser human rights”. Just “lesser legal rights”. pffft.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      100% Darrien,

      This Government are following the path of a former “strategist” in 1933 Germany called Hi….ler as a way to generate a problem in the social sphere then when everyone complaints they made themselves look good by fixing the social issue they (secretly plotted to create)

      It is an all-intended consequence from generating a problem then presenting their way to fix it, and we need to be concerned about this when they are gobbling up buckets of public funds at the same time while overloading our police, hospitals and our public health.

      Life under Jacinda, Winston and Shaw would never let this happen on their watch.

      We need to eject this toxic lot to free ourselves from this criminal thuggery called National.

  4. Quicksilver says:

    First it was “1984” for spying legislation.
    Now it’s “Animal Farm” for justice.

    Hopefully it’ll be “Fahenheit 451” for the Natz on Sept 23rd.

  5. Samwise says:

    When the bats are in trouble, they roll out their tough on crime bullshit. It would be comical if some of the moronic public didn’t, buy into it.

  6. Siobhan says:

    ‘We should be wary’

    indeed.

    or possibly even terrified.

  7. Nick J says:

    Simple answer to this electioneering stupidity. “You have had 9 years to sort the gang and drug problems. And you announce how to fix it after all that time…what the hell have you been doing? ”

    Ditto cowshit in rivers. Ditto pretty much bloody everything.

  8. e-clectic says:

    Shitty lipstick on the law and order pig.

  9. countryboy says:

    Imagine NZ/AOtearoa as a powder keg?
    Metaphor alert !
    The greedy morons who filled the powder keg with gunpowder are now deeply fearful of something, anything, igniting that powder keg. Metiria Turei nearly did that, hence an ‘adverse reaction’ from some quarters.
    The wages of ‘ neo liberalism’ and by association The National Party, the neo liberal transport agency of choice, is poverty, anxiety, desperation, over work, under pay, uncertainty, exhaustion, emotional depletion, environmental destruction, cows, ( lovely old things really. ) more cows, a bleak future for rural townships, a bleaker future for larger cities, ( Auckland? You lovely old bugger? You’re in deep shit I’m afraid. ) dysfunctional youth, poor old rotting yet-to-be corpses of people shambling along the streets in cold, dirty, homeless desperation.
    What might ignite a terrible retaliation for that abysmal and deviantly, deliberately miss managed beautiful New Zealand / Aotearoa?
    It’s simple. A group of unruly fellows, welded together by dysfunction.
    You National Party wankers? You’re soon to be the authors of your own demise.
    Bahahaha aha hahahahahahaha ahaha ahaha a a a !
    That’ll learn ya ! Ba hahahaha aha ahah a a a a !

    A shout soon to be heard from a villa in the leafier of suburbs
    ” Daddy ? Daddy? I see, through the triple glazing, a ruffian of a fellow jumping up and down on the roof of the Aston!? Shall I call the army? ”

    My answer would be “Yep.”

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Wow CB that was a trip.

      Your’e right everything is about bloody Auckland, till I’m pissed off.

      I was born in Mt Roskill in 1944 and left Auckland at 6 yrs old and wound up in Napier where i have lived most of my life (while back from Canada/USA.

      I hate Auckland because they never care about us all in the provinces, as if we are worthless this bloody evil Government.

  10. Farmer Guy Farmer Guy says:

    Those free university papers you did as a beneficiary obviously didn’t extend to knowledge of constitutional law, Paula ?
    Clearly we need more Arts Graduates studying law and Political Science and fewer practical people doing apprenticeships. (The building boom will arseout soon).
    Art Graduates and creatives make a more vibrant community unlike people in the financial and real estate sectors.

    • Sam Sam says:

      John Car Key based his honorary doctorate on those free university papers ect.

      Agree with the arts degree but students would learn far about politics and economics from studying earthquakes from Nandor (who happens to be running civics classes) than a political or economics degree.