Had a chat with Mark Mitchell on Magic Talk radio last Friday about Strike Force Raptor. I welcomed National having a position on this because Labour are useless. Initially I thought Strike Force Raptor was stupid and blatant dog whistling, but after talking with Mark, I now think the idea is incredibly dangerous and will in fact be terribly expensive and counter productive.
National’s argument is that a policy of constant harassment coupled with ‘offramps’ that help family and associates leave the Gang is the perfect combination of carrot and stick.
Here are 3 reasons why Strike Force Raptor won’t work:
1 – Constant harassment only generates radicalisation, not a desire to leave: A policy of constant harassment through every possible government agency from alcohol licensing to building permits to noise control won’t do anything other than create a sense of righteous grievance amongst those associates and family. Giving poor people on the fringes of society a righteous grievance against the state is not an ‘offramp’ for helping people leave gangs, it’s a motorway towards radicalisation. You really want to radicalise Gangs? Really?
2 – Strike Force Raptor is corrupt in Australia: As Newsroom painfully points out, the Australian example of Strike Force Raptor has come under sustained criticism that it is corrupt, abuses civil rights and has overstepped its authority time and time and time again. I’m not sure adopting a corrupt Australian model of Policing from one of the most corrupt Police Forces in the developed world is a solution to the soaring gang tensions here. As someone who has had to fight the NZ Police when they abused my civil rights, I am fully cognitive of the utter lack of checks and balances to Police power in this country, and see a vast ratcheting up of Police powers as an exacerbating problem, not a solution.
3 – It doesn’t focus on the actual problem – the 501s: The point I was making in the interview with Mark stands, the generator of this recruitment drive by the domestics is the sudden importation of 1200 501s from Australia who are prepared to use a level of criminal violence and sophistication well in excess of what the domestic gang landscape will cause. There’s no point in harassing the Mongrel Mob or Black Power or even the Headhunters if the 501s are the reason they are bulking up to protect their turf. A myopic focus on the 501s is what is required here, not some broad stroke get tough on crime rhetoric that lacks nuance because it’s aimed at triggering voters using lazy stereotypes.
Imagine the following scenario.
There are lots of unregistered dogs in a gang suburb. Strike Force Raptor as part of their constant harassment campaign move in on a Saturday morning with the armed ninja cops to round up all the dogs and take them away to the pound. Very quickly neighbours see the huge army of Strike Force Raptor members required to pull something like this off successfully descending upon their neighbourhood. People come out to the streets and start yelling and screaming at the Police as they attempt to remove dogs. A bottle gets thrown, do the ninja cops fire back? Livestream social media is now recording the event, more people are turning up, the crowds are getting angrier. One of the dogs turns on a Strike Force Raptor Officer, the police shoot the dog, the crowd goes into rage and bottles start to fly. In one house an 11 year old boy has his pet rottweiler ‘Adolf’ torn from him and while he sobs on the garden lawn, the Strike Force Raptor Officer hands him a ‘You can be Gang Free if you want to’ pamphlet as part of their program to provide ‘offramps’. The 11 year old boy looks at the Strike Force Raptor Officer with naked hatred in his eyes and promises they’ll get theirs one day.
The above scenario is exactly the kind of harassment policy National are promising and it’s hard to envisage a more counter productive cock up of a social policy but for the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind, they don’t care.
We live in the Age of Political Resentment and subjective offence where all we want is suffering and harm for those we hate, if the Social Policy is counterproductive, the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind don’t care.
This isn’t political leadership by National, this is political opportunism by playing to our worst angels.
National are promising a vast erosion of civil liberties for Prisoners, Gang Members and Beneficiaries. It’s hilarious that the second flawed social policy implodes, National’s go to is to erode civil liberties.
The petty spite drilled deep into the heart of low horizon imagination National voters must be appeased no matter what God it slaughters and Simon will gleefully oblige no matter the social carnage.
Welcome to the land of the wrong white crowd. This is who we are. This is what we is.