Waatea News Column: I agree with Mark Richardson & I’m as shocked as you are!


I don’t think there have been many moments in my political life where I have agreed with The AM Show’s Mark Richardson, but when he’s right, he’s right!

Richardson’s commentary defending Harry Tam calling on his gang fraternity to engage politically is spot on.

Mark argued, “I think you’re entitled to tell the group that you feel you represent and campaign, as long as you’re doing it off your own back, to vote a certain way because you think it will benefit your group”, and in this Mark is right.

As members of a liberal progressive democracy, we have intrinsic civil liberties and human rights.

Even if you are a prisoner.

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Even if you are a gang member.

Even if you are a criminal.

These rights are extended to all and protected for all because that’s the sacred obligation of the State, to protect the individual, regardless of who that individual is.

Harry Tam has every right to call his associates into the democratic process because this is a democracy! We want all members of society believing they are inside that process rather than alienated and excluded.

This is what reaching out to the fringes looks like.

National have released the video of Tam speaking because for some, the temerity of a man like Tam, looking like Tam with the history of Tam speaking fundamental truths of democracy anger and terrify.

Tam’s leadership is to be saluted not condemned. This is how communities heal.

It is also a reminder that you can find common ground with even Mark Richardson sometimes and that we should always build on what we can agree with.

In this case, if gangs want to have their political voice heard, that’s their right because civil liberties in a democracy are extended to all. That’s the power and legitimacy of democracy.


First published on Waatea News.


  1. For all Richardsons self absorbed arrogance, he is no idiot. He a National man through and through and were I one , I too would be mighty comfortable with a patched up gang leader (what is the Notorious chapter of the Mob again?) telling the boys that National would be bad for their business and to vote Labour.

    Sure, it’s democracy at work, vote for who you think will best deliver your vision or in the very least, not interfere with that vision. But do we salute that the same as the gang members did, with a full on Nazi salute?

    Richardsons opinion was subtle but one not to be missed, even criminals see Labour as their allies and if I were Jacinda, the Mongrel Mobs cosying up to her is something I would not be campaigning on and Richardson knows it. It’s a bad look.

    It’s really not hard to find articles on the misery this gang generates, constantly, so the question I have is why the PR campaign both from the Mob and select Labour politicians? Why the enormous effort to paint lipstick on to this fat ugly pig?

    Maybe 2.75 million dollars for an entrée is the answer!

  2. True. Moreover though it does not support the notion as originally narrated in the media that Tam is not a member nor does it justify not funding institutions such as gumboot Friday and Starship over this individual’s pet project.

    There is also now a clear link between Tam (fundee) and Labour (funder).

    In light of 8m being used to purchase a car unsellable run down motel in Rotovegas and 20m to fund hollywood’s anti NRA propaganda the 2.75m given to the mob is acceptable in this alternative universe PA (post Ardern) we now live in.

    Remember I was first to state that the lasting legacy of this government will be the partisanship of NZ’s political landscape.

    • Can’t think why some private enterprisers didn’t buy that Rotorua motel. Some member of the Taxpayers’ Union maybe. Or maybe they’re too busy wanting the ‘guests of the government’ in the Rotorua motels to immediately be turfed out on the streets and told to find their own accomodation.

      • Does that justify spending double the value of the property? Should government agencies be inflating property values in the current environment?

  3. And of course there is the “seig heil” from Tam at the end of the clip just so the left can see who they are giving millions of dollars to.
    They cancelled Brash for being a racist wanting one law for all but cosy up to criminals using real nazi behavior.

    Also the “don’t be scared of the fucken system we can use it” bit in the clip is important in case Labour think the Mob are the least bit trustworthy.

    Sure vote for who you want, just don’t give millions to criminals.

  4. Just as an aside, Harry Tam is a bloody good table tennis player but I guess that doesn’t fit the profile peddled by the media. But lets just continue to vilify based on what the National Party is peddling…if you wear a patch you should be in jail whether guilty or not. Funny thing is that Harry is an admirer of Rob Muldoon who (so Harry says) did more to get rid of gangs by engaging with them and providing alternatives to a life in and out of prison. Listen to his interview on Q&A before you stone him to death. I like the bit where he says that, to some, it doesn’t mater what he does now as he will always be judged by what he did in the past.

  5. If like me, your fundamental belief is in “”freedom of speech”” then there is no argument from me that Tams rant was OK.
    I however do have a problem with the naivety of a Prime Minister personally signing off on funding the gang(or whatever its “front” is called) to provide a solution to a gang generated problem.

    What on earth was she thinking about how the public at large would see her action?

    • John Key signed off $1m for Black Power – the Min of Health held it up but he signed it.
      We shouldn’t get too precious about this, as though there is no precedent.

      • I’d love to hear feedback on this or does it not matter because it wasn’t Labour or Jacinda?

        “The grant had been signed off by then-Prime Minister John Key as part of his Government’s $15m action plan for tackling the meth plague, and was being overseen by the ministry.”

        $15 million well, well well.

      • So the two wrongs make a right policy makes this stupidity in 2021 perfectly okay does it?

        To state the bleeding obvious, just because National were idiots does not justify in any way, the current governments actions.

        As I’ve read elsewhere, this gang have just created the perfect money laundering scheme, government backed with our Prime Ministers signature.

        Who says gang members are stupid? Or at least, as stupid as this government!

  6. Of course Maori leaders can’t be trusted so it’s better to get mobsters like Harry Tam to handle the government rehab money for them, seems to be the government’s position. Maori leaders are agreeing with them. Keep downing the Kool aid!

  7. Harry Tam seems to be at the taxpayers teat just like he wangled his way into the abuse enquiry with a domestic abuse conviction. Seems to be the woke choice of person to fund! But 2.7 million seems pretty generous. A lot less generous to disabled people who apparently can’t get support worker hours anymore.

  8. Agree with the posters above. The more Labour aligns with the interests of the criminal gangs the more opportunities for the opposition to differentiate themselves from what is a deeply unpopular position. Jacinda might trust Harry Tam and regard the Mob as just naughty boys; anyone that’s seen the consequences of their intimidation, violence and criminality not so much.

  9. I have worked for Corrections. Take it from me, as long as it is well supervised, government spending on gang drug rehabilitation is money well spent. These guys are on the margin now. Push them even further away is not only unfair, it’s stupid. The key is to find a programme that fits them! A Marae based DTU and a culturally appropriate approach, has a chance of success. In the great scheme of things, the price is reasonable.

    • Rehab yes, rehab for gang members yes. Marae based rehab yes.
      Pay the gang that imports and sells the illegal drug that causes the problem to do the rehab, are you fucking serious.

      • Big thumbs up.

        If a tobacco company offered to make school lunches the country would see straight through it as a recruitment tool. Why is the government so stupid when it comes to gangs?

        The more people they can get hooked, the more money they can make on government grants to do “counseling”.

        Better to prosecute the gangs and helps those who need it outside of the always vile influence of them.

      • “John Key signed off $1m for Black Power – the Min of Health held it up but he signed it.”

        “are you fucking serious.”

        It appears greater minds than yours are.

      • KCCO
        In fact, to be equally kind and fair on taxpayers, shouldn’t our hyper-smart govt buy 2.7m worth of meth from the gang and give it to wanting addicts, many who probably pay more tax than the gangs ever have. Everybody happy.

  10. Criminals are criminals and if they want to have a voice in democracy they can pay for it themselves, after they’ve repaid the damage they’ve caused. Giving decent people’s money to mongrels is stupid at best and actively damaging to our democracy most likely; we don’t have laws for no reason.

    If the Mongrels want to not be in prison then stop being the Mongrels.

  11. 2.7 million of ‘criminal money’ laundered back into the gangs is ok, but having an opinion on legal weed, nah, the queen has no opinion on that.

  12. “John Key signed off $1m for Black Power – the Min of Health held it up but he signed it.”

    “are you fucking serious.”

    It appears greater minds than yours are.

  13. I’m no Richardson fan but I go along with you on this one, MB.

    The Big Dick on the AM Show is Garner, grossly and unfairly criticising a young rugby league player. Then cowardly claiming it was a case of ‘mistaken identity’. What a bully.


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