President Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom Chapter – Sonny Fatupaito in response to Simon Bridges, Leader of the Opposition – Rebuff of Invitation to Mana Whānau Event
In response to our invitation to the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Bridges to participate in our Mana Whānau Event on Saturday 9 November which he abruptly declined.
Mr Bridges reasons for declining directly stated “as a Crown prosecutor and MP, he had seen first-hand the misery caused by gangs, particularly in their crime and peddling of drugs and violence, not least to women”. We gave Bridges the opportunity to see first-hand the radical changes that are being made in our confederation, we are perplexed as to why he wouldn’t take up this opportunity, as Bridges also stated “I believe people are capable of changing and of redemption, rehabilitation and reintegration. I also believe there will be individual gang members who do good for their whānau and community”, and we view this as a direct contradiction of saying one thing and doing another, hypocrisy in other words, also known as ideological hegemony. Ideological hegemony is a system of thought control, linked to a set of ideas and beliefs that act to uphold and justify an existing or desired arrangement of power, authority, wealth and status in a society.
Mr Bridges ‘dog whistle’ politics are great at playing on people’s fears and anxieties but not so good at solving any problems. He is seeking to blame instead of seeking to understand. Our people are experts on their own conditions, it’s not the same notion as an expert in a western sense where its through education, its through lived experience. What is clear and what politicians need to quickly come to understand, is that we won’t address societal problems unless we understand the political and social drivers that shape our lives and our communities. We understand that the best agents of change are those who have navigated and overcome the many adversities they have endured throughout their lifetimes.
We are the most discriminated, marginalised community of people, last Thursday, Bridges hinted about the contents of a ‘gang plan’, “It’s no secret, we hate gangs, we are thinking about how we can crack down on gangs”, he said. This intended strategy is a policy with the direct intent to further discriminate against our families and loved ones. Not every gang member is a criminal and not every criminal is a gang member yet Bridges approach puts us all into the category that we are all criminals. As I have written, gang’s have their own whakapapa and origins, which are rooted deep within the injustices to Māori by way of imperialism, colonization, assimilation, racism, economic deprivation along with the commodification of our resources and our people. The impact of colonization is now having intergenerational effects, which have torn Whānau, Hapu and Iwi apart.
Bridges ‘tough on crime’ agenda does nothing more than widen the gap between different sectors of society, and Bridges former leader and Prime Minister Bill English, is renowned for announcing his Government’s moral and fiscal failure, Prisons. So too is this narrative surrounding gangs being violent thugs that the government and media would have us believe, we are simply just pawns in their bigger political game.
We look forward to gathering and celebrating with our people and invited dignitaries Dame Tariana Turia, Sir Pita Sharples and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait at our Mana Whānau event. These rangatira have spent the best part of their lives fighting for the equality and wellbeing of our people, and obviously recognise the good works and transformation that is happening within the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom.
PAITO – PRESIDENT
WAIKATO MONGREL MOB KINGDOM