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Heather du Plessis-Allan: It's time to punish protestors properly

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 5:35pm

Heather du Plessis-Allan: It's time to punish protestors properly

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 5:35pm

Turns out, the person who painted over the rainbow crossing on Auckland's K road 3 weeks ago is related to Brian Tamaki by marriage - what a surprise.

He is married to Brian Tamaki’s granddaughter and is the father of, I think four, of Tamaki's great-grand kids. The reason I'm not surprised is - of course Destiny Church was doing this with the rainbow crossings in Gisborne earlier.

Anyway, today he appeared in court and pleaded guilty - and was convicted, discharged and fined $16,000.

Now as far as I can tell,  this is the toughest sentence given in recent times to a protestor who caused damage, but is it really tough?

A $16,000 fine sounds a lot, until you hear they’re not particularly worried about the fine because already a supporter has pledged $5,000 to help out.

And sure, a criminal record sucks - but not that much when your daily life doesn’t even break its stride because you’re not going to jail or do anything as punishment.

I'm going to repeat myself because I've said this before - the courts need to impose sentences that will deter other protestors who damage stuff from doing it as well. And yet, at the moment, that's not what I'm seeing.

Remember the climate protestor who sprayed red paint all over the luxury car sales yard in Wellington? She was discharged without conviction, ordered to pay half the water-blasting bills, plus give another $500 to charity -and that was about it.

Protest has, particularly in recent years - and particularly led by the climate activists - gone from being peaceful marching and waving of placards and shouting to now including damage of property, kind of as a matter of course.

This is a big problem overseas with the climate activists throwing paint at valuable pieces of art on display. And here in New Zealand, it's kind of being imported.

We had the spraying of the car yard in Wellington, the spraying of a car yard in Auckland, we had the abseiler deface the Treaty exhibition at Te Papa, we had the Destiny Church guys vandalise the rainbow crossing in Gisborne- and now this. 

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if you don't adequately punish something, it will be repeated. You just have to be a human to know that because it's human behaviour.

Case in point today - Brian Tamaki is proud of what his grandson-in-law did. They don't really care about the fine. 

Now tell me if that's going to deter others from, next time they're really angry about something, just damaging some property to prove how angry they are.

Probably not, so expect more until we start properly punishing people who deliberately damage other people's stuff in the name of protest.


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