Unequal human rights

Should prisoners have reduced human rights? Minister of Police Paula Bennett seems to think some should be treated differently

RNZ: Serious criminals ‘have fewer human rights’ – National

Serious criminals should have fewer human rights than others, according to the National Party’s police spokesperson Paula Bennett.

Ms Bennett and the party’s leader Bill English have announced National’s policy to crack down on gangs and the supply and manufacture of methamphetamine.

The plan would give police the power to search the cars and houses of the most serious criminal gang members, at any time, for firearms through the use of new prohibition orders, which would be given at the discretion of police.

I have two serious concerns so far. If they want to search cars and houses that surely means suspected criminals, or alleged criminals.

And ‘discretion of police’ sounds warning bells. Surely there should be some checks on what the police can do, like needing to obtain warrants.

Ms Bennett said that would probably breach the human rights of those gang members.

That’s a worrying admission.

“We just feel that there are some gang members that are creating more harm and continuing to.

“Some have fewer human rights than others when they are creating a string of victims behind them … there is a different standard.”

Mr English said he was comfortable with the policy.

“We’re comfortable that this is a tool which will enable the front line of our police to deal more effectively with the structure of the distribution of meth and the dangers of firearms.

“It will go right through the legislative process, so of course this will be argued.”

Without seeing details I’m quite uncomfortable with this.

National’s plan would invest $42 million over four years to fund a crackdown on gangs and the supply of serious drugs.

Aside from new police powers, it would double the number of drug dog teams and introduce them in domestic airports, ferries and mail centres to clamp down on trafficking. Penalties for manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabis would be increased from a maximum of two years’ imprisonment to eight years, but no changes to charges for possession.

Gang members on a benefit would also have to justify expensive assets worth more than $10,000, otherwise their benefit could be cancelled or be declined.

Ms Bennett said serious drugs like methamphetamine and the gangs who peddle them were a scourge on society.

“These drug dealers are destroying lives for profit and greed and these drugs have no place in our country.”

I agree that drug pushing and dealing is abhorrent and a serious problem, but as important as it is to try to combat this more effectively it is also important to have a High standard of human rights, and also adequate controls on police investigations and enforcement.

What if the Police search someone’s car or house and find no drugs or firearms? Too bad, as long as they look a bit like criminals?

UPDATE: The Spinof – Mask off: National decides gang members have “fewer human rights”

If you can – and this is clearly impossible – detach yourself from its horror, the policy is fascinating as a perfect view into the debates which roil inside the National party. It perfectly encapsulates the two impulses it has contained, in announcing 1500 new drug treatment places (seems good, seems like the modern, friendly, Bill English wing) while also promising to just wander into the homes of gang members, without a warrant, just because.

Its launch at a West Auckland drug treatment facility captures the squirming dichotomy perfectly. It is meant to scream ‘we care’ to the mainstream on the 6pm news, while the “fewer human rights” grab will play on ZB tomorrow, a bone for the tough-on-crime crowd to gnaw on.

What we’re really seeing is the party under sustained pressure for the first time in nine years…

Hence this policy, one which seems ripped from the ‘70s headlines, asserting that certain types of New Zealanders are fundamentally less human than others. It’s the National party of old’s coffin lid creaking open, a zombie back out to fight an election in 2017. We’ll find out what Bill English really thinks about it when he records his episode of the 9th Floor. Unless this somewhat grotesque new strategy gains traction, that moment won’t be far off.

I think this policy has the potential to stuff any chance National has of reversing Labour’s positive momentum. It may appeal to Natikonal’s base and some further to the right with few other voting options, but it is going to struggle with the swing voters who have been veering towards Labour.

28 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  September 3, 2017

    I smell a ‘set-up’ to get Labour to come out and support gang member rights…..

    • Blazer

       /  September 3, 2017

      I smell a vote catcher for the law and order,hang em high…faction.Slippery slope to go down.The Police have been abusing their existing powers without giving them carte blanche.

      • Corky

         /  September 3, 2017

        I smell going about things the wrong way. Classify gangs as domestic terrorists. Give them fair warning to disband. If they refuse…exterminate them. That way no human rights are breached. And gang bangers are given a grace period before action is taken

        But, if you really want something to worry about….try Labours new policy for landlords. Talk about a communist state under Comrade Jacinda

        We had Helengrad. That stuffed the social fabric of our country up. Now Jacindagrad will stuff our economy up.

        • Gezza

           /  September 3, 2017

          I loathe the gangs for the damage they do to Maori & others in our society. If there are *good* gang members, how do peopke separate the *good* ones from the bad? The *good* ones can leave the gangs. That’d be good.

          • PDB

             /  September 3, 2017

            There are no good gang members, just differing levels of bad ones.

            • Gezza

               /  September 3, 2017

              That’s the problem. They exploit whanaugatanga, imo.

            • Gezza

               /  September 3, 2017

              * whanaungatanga (whanau, marae, hapu, iwi relationships).
              It’s such a strong cultural imperative in Maori culture patched Black Power members were even welcomed to the Maori Party launch. Possum may well have a different take on this, & she can’t speak for others or individual different marae, but I wish they’d all disown, or at the very least strongly disapprove, gang members unless they leave the gangs.

            • Bill

               /  September 4, 2017

              I agree PDB, however if all gang member were to hang up their patches today, would these hardened criminals cease to exist ?

              When dealing with hard addictive drugs like P, the list of those willing to use and profit goes much deeper, we have seen high ranking Police officers,prison guards, business men, students, mothers and fathers, the list is as comprehensive as society its self.

              The Meth problem seems a bit different than what we’ve faced before, as in the deaths of those involved usually are centred around the huge profits generated and those who fall foul of their suppliers. this is in stark contrast to the resent synthetic deaths due to product failure.

              The pursuit of money through evil means is one of the hardest things to stamp out, as we’ve seen with the sale of endangered animal parts. If something’s illegal there’s always a platform to make huge money and those who will band together to do so, to satisfy the customers.

          • pickled possum

             /  September 3, 2017

            Gangs … Just the mere word invokes all sorts of theories
            by some in our society.

            I bring to your attention

            REI HARRIS Black Power Nat Prez
            Ban on Rape …
            http://www.noted.co.nz/currently/social-issues/from-the-archive-black-power-rei-harris-and-the-ban-on-rape/

            Now he’s dead … He tried to give young people a notion of
            recovering their sense of Māoridom
            https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/94675744

            Dr Jarrod has a sane say …
            “what if your son is in a gang and he’s staying with you, can your house then be searched without a warrant?”

            Paula Bennett said on Twitter that ‘scumbag gangs don’t deserve protection’.

            But the majority of drug dealers aren’t gang members, so why do those scumbags have greater rights than those in a gang?
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11916458

            • Gezza

               /  September 3, 2017

              I’ll check those out sis. Meantime:
              1. which is the ok one – MMM or BP?
              2. which places are they ok, basically just clubs & clubhouses?
              3. NP BP, Marfell, chris crean – where my 1 year first-live in luvva came from. were they ok? Are they ok now?

            • pickled possum

               /  September 3, 2017

              illicit = forbidden by law, rules, or custom
              or
              licit = not forbidden; lawful.

              Does it all depend on who is the most believable ?

              Isn’t it all about the circle of life?
              Every season when there is more bad than good.

              I don’t know bout questions 1. 2. and 3. in today’s terms,
              might be different tomorrow tho’.

              Which is the better parti Gez?
              National
              Labour
              Maori
              Democrats
              Legalise
              TOP …..

              Q. Which would be the Best place to live where there are no gangs?

              A. Rodney County 91% non-Maori 2017 consensus …
              and we are told that non-Maori don’t form gangs, much.

            • Gezza

               /  September 3, 2017

              Does it all depend on who is the most believable ?
              A. Huh?

              Isn’t it all about the circle of life?
              A. Huh?

              Every season when there is more bad than good.
              A. Struggling here too sis.

              I don’t know bout questions 1. 2. and 3. in today’s terms,
              might be different tomorrow tho’.
              A. Damn! this better not be jus cos I’m a pakeha! 😠😀

              Which is the better parti Gez?
              National
              Labour
              Maori
              Democrats
              Legalise
              TOP …..

              A. Maori, but just this year & things may change b4 the election. Those BP characters annoyed me. (Marama’s quite a fox. Scrubbed up nice in that leaders debate.👍🏼🌹)

              Q. Which would be the Best place to live where there are no gangs?

              A. Rodney County 91% non-Maori 2017 consensus …
              and we are told that non-Maori don’t form gangs, much.

              A2. Nope. My place. Sri Lankans North over side fence. Chinese over South side fence (olds doan speaka da English or da Maori – lotta smiles & gestures needed). Ducks, pukekos, occasional little black shag & swallows, & two cool dude tuna over East side fence.

            • Gezza

               /  September 3, 2017

              and we are told that non-Maori don’t form gangs, much.
              Yeah, I dunno. Which ones are the biggest?
              Fuzz keep a close eye on the Angels & other dodgy motorsickle gangz, not jus The MMM & BP.

              What are the Mongies & BP’s goals n objectives n visionstatements n stuff, & what sort of good/bad activities & community services do they perform.

              That’s where they seem to me to be so different from, say, the police, which some Maori wags try to say are a gang.

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2017

              @ possum

              Don’t agree entirely with his obvious fondness for gangs – but liked the final part of Jarrod Gilbert’s article:

              That much power vested in police without judicial oversight is concerning but because it says ‘gang’ fewer people will be concerned: at least that’s what Bennett is backing on.

              We are rarely challenged by human rights in New Zealand on easy issues, we are challenged by difficult ones. That is when our commitment to them is tested. If we are prepared to run roughshod over them in situations like this, I fear what happens when we face a crisis, such as an act of terrorism.

              The proposed law will not have any meaningful impact on the drug trade in New Zealand. But it does speak to who we are as a country. Paula Bennett ought be called out in the strongest possible terms for this cynical politicking.

              Our country, and the principles of Western justice that underpin it, are more valuable than a political party’s advantage on the hustings.

              It’s not that I think we shouldn’t vote for Paula Bennett. I think she should resign.

            • pickled possum

               /  September 4, 2017

              Geza
              Really I could explain till the cows cows come home from the desert
              but there in lies the major stumbling block,
              Maori Pakeha .. Communication.

              “What are the Mongies & BP’s goals n objectives n visionstatements n stuff, & what sort of good/bad activities & community services do they perform.”

              I sent you a link to what the BP kaupapa , did you read it?
              Here’s one from the other crowd. Watch it and cherry pick at will.

              Does that answer your goals, objectives, vision statements questions?
              As for the rest well; I do research in lots of polluted korero in the cyber world, am not a gangsta moll,
              I am Maori 1st, New Zealander 2nd.
              So sometimes I feel a need to have my say.

              Does it all depend on who is the most believable ?
              A. Huh? … Liars Geza… Who is believable today?

              Isn’t it all about the circle of life? … think Simba the lion
              A. Huh?

              # Every season when there is more bad than good.#
              A. Struggling here too sis.
              #Self evident woman logic

              And if I am not understood … tough.
              Nothing changes any way because of understanding.

              The police already have the power over gangs; with the 3 or more patched up member not allowed together … in public.

              The police can already come in to your house whenever they want under the drugs act.

              The Right to silence, the 400 year old law … which ironically
              Mike Sabin tried to get chunked out … before he was.
              How will that law work
              when busting the koro house
              who has gang members
              visiting to learn whaikorero and ancient waiata?

              The Evidence Act 2006 explicitly prohibits the inference of guilt in a criminal proceeding from a defendant exercising their right to silence.

              Hell they = police; can do pretty much what they want
              if they are dealing with gangs… When they are heavily armed.
              The word ‘gangs’ sends shivers up the spines of non-gangs.

              ‘Don’t agree entirely with his obvious fondness for gangs’
              Dr Jarrod Gilbert is a Sociologist and has written a book on Gangs.
              Butt never fear Geza you are in company with the police,
              “The police have deemed me unfit because of my “association with gangs”.
              This association won’t surprise many people:
              I did New Zealand’s largest ever study of gangs.
              It was long, exhausting and sometimes dangerous work,
              but it was worth it.”
              The research culminated in an award-winning book, and academic publications all around the world.
              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11550680

              Gezza He studies Crime and the criminals who perpetrate it.
              Don’t you say the gangs are criminals.
              Sometimes bro its hard to understand you English speaking peoples.

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2017

              👍🏼 ☘❤️🌴

  2. patupaiarehe

     /  September 3, 2017

    This is a little concerning, but more so is the behaviour of some of the individuals concerned. I’m privy to the details of what happened to those two guys whose bodies they found in the Mamakus the other week, and it is straight out of a horror movie. Meth is a serious problem around here, and when you combine it with the sums of money concerned, really bad things happen.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 3, 2017

      I couldn’t believe that some people expected the police to say what they were doing about the synthetic cannabis that was (is ?) killing people !

      ‘It’s all right, Sergeant Joe Brown, Constable Jim Smith and Sergeant Rangi Tukere here are going undercover….they have infiltrated the suppliers in X, Y and Z and we are expecting busts in these places soon.’

  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  September 3, 2017

    We need more details. I would be all right with this as long as it was subject to some kind of reasonable control. It’s hard to imagine the police having so little to do that they would check people like my Maori neighbours without very good reason.

  4. duperez

     /  September 3, 2017

    What happens if they go into a house and find reds under the beds? 🛌 🛏

    • Corky

       /  September 3, 2017

      They aren’t under the bed…they are on the election trail..comrade.

      • duperez

         /  September 3, 2017

        The election trail where the incumbents haven’t trotted out ‘terrrorist threats’ yet? What d’ya reckon, that to come to match this gang one?

    • PDB

       /  September 3, 2017

      Do you sleep under your bed?

    • Patzcuaro

       /  September 3, 2017

      And in the worse case scenario they find “blues” under the bed.

  5. David

     /  September 3, 2017

    If its fine with everyone for Labour to trample over the property rights of law abiding landlords then I have no problem National doing the same to P dealing gang members.
    The P dealers will get more justice in the high court than a landlord in the tenancy court or a boss in the employment court.

  6. paul scott

     /  September 3, 2017

    The apparent release of data in February / March from the Citizens espionage system, I mean Individual Client Level data within the Social Investment scheme, is said to be an MSD grenade in waiting. Brendan Boyle who let Murray Edridge take the fall has been left alone and like a Trump trap , if the full data base is exposed , well then … I was expecting the data base said release to be part of the negotiations after the election. Tolley may not be around in Government to answer interesting questions

  7. Patzcuaro

     /  September 3, 2017

    National must have their backs against the wall, they have trotted out law and order. If the right is in trouble they always reach for the law and order button. But it is all negative whereas Labour is increasing protection for tenants which has a positive aura about it.

    If families are going to be excluded from home ownership then they need greater certainty in their tenancy. If the tenant is responsible and fulfilling their end of the tenancy agreement then the landlord should have no right to evict them.

    • Gezza

       /  September 4, 2017

      The good thing about this is that landlords who don’t like it can sell their humble hovels to folk who do & reinvest their millions in productive ventures.