I feel for our country’s cops at the moment, especially after those train wreck comments by their Minister Poto Williams this morning.
My problem is not that she opposes the arming of frontline police, she’s entitled to her opinion. My problem is that she says her reason for that is because the communities she represents don’t want it.
I’m talking about the communities I represent which is Māori and Pasifika communities. What is she talking about? She’s the Police Minister.
If there is a group she is supposed to represent and have the back of it’s the police. She is the person who is supposed to go to the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister and argue for resources and funding to make sure cops can do their jobs.
And if there’s a second group she should be representing, it’s the people of Christchurch east who elected her. Who are a mix of ethnicities - 12 per cent Māori, 4 per cent Pasifika, 87 per cent Pakeha, 5 per cent Asian. But instead, she makes it sound like she’s the representative of South Auckland's Māori and Pasifika communities. Christchurch East voters should be annoyed.
The Nats are calling for Poto Williams to be sacked, I personally think that’s over the top. Her comments aren’t a sackable offence, but they have likely eroded officers’ confidence in her as their Minister.
She clearly does not have their backs as a priority and that is why I feel sorry for them, because it’s hard to be a cop at the moment. They’ve got gun violence that’s so bad even the police commissioner admits it’s worrying him
The Government's told them they’re on a pay freeze for three years and then the Prime Minister signs off nearly three million dollars of spending to go to members of the Mongrel Mob, which is a gang cops are spending their working hours trying to disrupt.
The police association says in the last two weeks they’ve had more feedback from frontline officers than in the last five years combined. So officers are upset, and frankly, after hearing the minister today, with good reason.