English walks back human rights stance

Bill English said this morning in an RNZ interview that Paula Bennett was wrong to talk  about different human rights for criminals and gang members.

RNZ:  Bill English on National’s drug and gang policy

National is being accused of going too far by promising to strip gang members of some legal rights.

The party is pledging to give police the power to search cars and houses of the most serious criminal gang members for firearms at any time.

The plan has been criticised as “troubling” and sinister”.

From the interview:

Suzie Ferguson: Why is it that some people deserve fewer human rights than others?

Bill English: Well the Minister I think would acknowledge that as we discussed last night, that was the wrong way to describe the actual proposal. The proposal was made in the context of the methamphetamine policy and real concern from the police that gangs are able to build up significant stockpiles of illegal arms.

Suzie Ferguson: So Paula Bennett…got it wrong?

Bill English: Well it’s not, it wasn’t the right way to describe the actual policy.

Suzie Ferguson: But does that mean she went to far or was she inaccurate?

Bill English: Well it’s just not the correct use of a term like human rights. Everyone has human rights in New Zealand. They’re based around respect for the integrity of the individual. They’re embedded in our legal system.  This is not a policy that erodes human rights. It will be looked at in the context of human rights though.

Misspoke. Damage control. Election campaign. Leaders debate tonight.

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14 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  September 4, 2017

    Should be good. Paula’s painted a big target on Bill’s forehead.

    • PDB

       /  September 4, 2017

      Don’t know if Labour will go big on this – opens them up as being crim/gang friendly.

      • Gezza

         /  September 4, 2017

        Hard to say. Someone skilled in Comms / PR can easily formuate a cunning plan around this.

        • Gezza

           /  September 4, 2017

          * mentally insert this ‘l’ after the ‘u’, where God has punished me with corky’s karma.

  2. duperez

     /  September 4, 2017

    Four stories about National’s gang and drugs policy, interrupted by “Politics isn’t theatre.”

    Politics isn’t theatre, but an announcement is made, obviously with intent, it garners lots of attention, some see elements of it as controversial, there is the inevitable backdown.
    Own goal? Absolutely not.

    What was the message? “We are tough on gangs, we are tough on crime”? The goal has been scored, the fearful, the maybe-beginning-to-waver say, “Yes, you’re the ones for us.”
    Political theatre at it’s purest.

    • PDB

       /  September 4, 2017

      Yep – job done.

    • robertguyton

       /  September 4, 2017

      What was the message? We have no scruples. We will say whatever we want. We would ignore international standards around human rights, in fact, we already have. We are desperate to win the election and will sow distrust and fear amongst the population in order to thuggishly frighten them into voting for the biggest thugs. More to come.

      • duperez

         /  September 4, 2017

        Scruples? Hush your mouth!

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  September 4, 2017

        What were other messages? We will drive gangs deeper underground, marginalise people more, build bigger prisons in cahoots with private prison management companies, whose pockets we’ll then line with gold by criminalising the poorest members of our population…

  3. Corky

     /  September 4, 2017

    ”Bill English said this morning in an RNZ interview that Paula Bennett was wrong to talk about different human rights for criminals and gang members.”

    She didn’t get it wrong, Bill. That’s the first step to controlling gangs. Stuff the United Nations…and stuff criminals. What a pity National haven’t the guts to follow through.

  4. robertguyton

     /  September 4, 2017

    “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.
    Thank you Paula.

  5. The gangs peddle in misery, violence and ignorance. They control the drugs distribution and if we wanted to clamp down that’s the first place you’d need to get heavy handed. My life has been touched by the blight that is METH, as in an employee. He cost us literally tens of thousands, his family as much in rehab fees and he’s a middle class boy not coming back to Planet Earth an a hurry. The system pays for their every move, pays for their defence as they clog up our justice system and prisons. The taxpayer picks up all the pieces of their seedy, deranged lives.

    Not seeing too many upset apart from the Grey Lynn set, but they’re perpetually outraged as it is.

  6. sorethumb

     /  September 4, 2017

    I have a problem when principles take precedence over practicalities.