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John MacDonald: Is National's gang rhetoric enough on its own?

John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Fri, 3 Nov 2023, 1:05PM
Photo / File
Photo / File

John MacDonald: Is National's gang rhetoric enough on its own?

John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Fri, 3 Nov 2023, 1:05PM

So the gangs are bringing in the lawyers and all the legal experts are on the TV news sitting in front of their bookshelves going tut-tut-tut to National over its plan to ban gang patches and tattoos, saying it breaches the Bill of Rights.

And then, in the other corner, we’ve got Christopher Luxon saying ‘yeah, nah - we’re going to do it anyway’.

Which he would say anyway. But, as I’ve said all along, I don’t think this tough talk we’ve been hearing from National is going to come to much.

And I don’t actually think that is going to matter to most people. Because, let’s face it, even talking tough about gangs is a lot more than Labour did over the past six years. So a pretty low bar has been set for National.

Now, before I go any further, let’s get it clear that I am not a gang sympathiser in any way, shape or form. I despise gang culture. I despise the things that gangs get up to especially their criminal activity but also the way they do their darndest to get young people involved.

I also despise the impact gangs have on the lives of other people. People who have no interest in gang life but find themselves drawn into it because their kids have either signed-up to the dream of flash motorbikes and flash cars, or have become chained to the gangs through drug addiction.

I remember talking to a chap whose son got hooked on P and got his drugs from gang suppliers. He found himself in that much debt and under such pressure from the gangs, that he took his life during one of the COVID lockdowns.

And I distinctly remember his father telling me how they couldn’t hold a proper funeral for his son because of the COVID restrictions, but how incredulous they were that the gangs got away with holding big funerals at that time.

Another father told me about his son getting hooked on drugs who also got his stuff from gangs and this guy had gang members turning up at his place in the middle of the night looking for his son, pointing a shotgun in his face.

Do you want more examples of why I hate gangs? What about those Black Power muppets who viciously attacked that innocent guy who was just walking down the street to have lunch at McDonalds, and they followed him into the restaurant and gave him a hiding because he was wearing a red sweatshirt.

There were about a dozen of them and they thought he must’ve been connected to the Mongrel Mob because of the red sweatshirt.

So, I’ve got zero time for gangs. But I’ve also got zero time for politicians who treat us like idiots.

And that’s exactly what National has done with its talk about gangs. And is continuing to do.

Because for Christopher Luxon to bury his head in the sand like he has in the past 24 hours when asked about these concerns about the legality of a patch ban and a tattoo ban, is a continuation of election campaign rhetoric.

Someone needs to tell Christopher Luxon that the campaign is over and the time for cheap talk and empty promises is over.

The ban on gang patches and gang tattoos sounded great during the campaign. But this is where the rubber hits the road. And National needs to realise and admit that some aspects of their gang policies are never going to fly.

And the sooner they do that. The more forgiving we will be.

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