Waatea News Column: Kelvin Davis has another terrible day at the office

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I am honestly not sure who is advising Minister Kelvin Davis, but his surprising decision this week to attack People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) and refer their pamphlets calling on prison reform to the Police for supposedly inciting the prison riot at Waikeria prison is such a desperately wrong footed move one is left wondering what on earth he thinks he’s doing.

Put aside the massive civil liberty and freedom of speech issues here, put aside the fact that PAPA, while certainly a radical movement, have played an important and essential role in standing up for prisoner rights and put aside the abuse of power of a Minister trying to have a community group arrested, the simple truth is that if it were a National Party Minister trying to do this, we would have collectively called for their resignation.

I fear Kelvin Davis is on dangerously thin ice here.

The issues at hand regarding the riot at Waikeria prison are as follows:

  • Did Corrections inform the Minister that understaffing had caused an environment that was so degrading that it sparked a riot?
  • Why did Corrections use starvation tactics to quell this?
  • Why did Corrections get the Police involved and have them shoot at prisoners?
  • How many other prisons face the same understaffing issues that are also generating these types of conditions?

The focus must be on ensuring prisons are resourced and staffed well enough to never allow conditions to deteriorate to this point again, attacking one of the few prisoner rights groups and attempting to have them arrested for inciting the riot is the absolute opposite of trying to find a solution.

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Not stepping up and negotiating an end to this and allowing the Māori Party to do the hard yards to de-escalate the riot was a political mistake, but attacking People Against Prison Aotearoa and blaming them for the riot is an abuse of political power.

Who on earth is advising the Minister?

First published on Waatea News.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I strongly believe if this man was not a Maori he would have no authority in the government . The previous 3 years showed him up as a complete non achiever in any of his ministerial role . I understand if Jacinda could not front a lot of effort was put in to find a spokesman other than Davis.
    PAPA to me are a radical group of people with unreal aimed but they have a right to be heard even if you do not agree with the message. Is this the way the hate speech law will work

  2. Kelvin is a dickhead and should go, way out of his depth, I support PAPA of course they know what it is about and Kelvin DOES NOT!

  3. If the minister needs advice about using common sense then he is obviously in the wrong job. His track record of foot in mouth is all too frequent

  4. Decriminalise ALL street drugs, introduce a basic living wage, ( Ask grahame heart. I read somewhere that he added 3.4 billion to his fortune during c-19 so he knows we can afford a basic living wage better than anyone. ) re-nationalise our abundant resources specifically electricity and public transport i.e specifically rail, slap on a massive capital gains tax to head off the crafty swindle that property ‘investment’ is, tax the foreign bankster out of AO/NZ then create a special SIS/IRD unit to hunt down those fuckers who most profited from roger douglas’s treasonous acts of villainy against us and there’d be no need for prisons. Or costly kelvin ‘ God I’m Gorgeous! ‘ davis either.
    But what the fuck do I know, right? I’m only a tax paying, hardworking, voting, community safe, AO/NZ citizen.
    Not a beautiful, deal doing, scam planning, leased therefore tax break Merc driving, tax dodging, suit wearing, pricey-people-in-high-places schmoozing, soulless scum bag.
    Based upon the basic tenet that a democracy is to be judged upon its responcibility to take care of its most at-risk peoples FIRST then what does that say for when we can walk past people living without hope in the door ways of banks and retail where others MORE LUCKY and more resourced can go and ‘spend up large’ I.e. Plunge further in to debt ( because the 1980’s $240K Ponsonby Hut’s been ‘revalued’ up to 2.4 million) on things they don’t really need? What the fuck is that about?
    A reminder? Our politicians, like kal, are supposed to protect us from ourselves and keep us out of the reach of the criminal, psychopathic money cultists who design our societies for their benefit then prey on our indifference.

  5. It is about resourcing and staff numbers but that is only part of the answer. The staff they do have need to interact with prisoners in a very different way. After all they want to be called “Corrections Officers” not “Prison Guards”

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