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Mike's Minute: We've lost our real world view when it comes to Ōpōtiki

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Jun 2023, 10:10am

Mike's Minute: We've lost our real world view when it comes to Ōpōtiki

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Jun 2023, 10:10am

What I value about people like Mark Mitchell is they bring real world experience to a situation.

Mark was a cop, he was a dog handler and he has been to Ōpōtiki. When he went to Ōpōtiki 20 years ago it was a different world.

Yes, we had gangs. We've had gangs for decades and we've angsted about gangs for decades.

Robert Muldoon tried to make friends with them. But all these years later it's through the Mitchell-type experiences that you realise how lost we are as a country.

Megan Woods' defence of the police yesterday was pathetic. She said they’ve put more police in Ōpōtiki - so what? The kids aren't going to school.

The police will keep the peace, we are told. So what? Buses aren't on the road.

I bring experience too, and I can tell you it wasn’t that long ago that the closure of Ōpōtiki through gang fear would have been a lead story each and every day until it was resolved.

The pressure on the Prime Minister down would have been unrelenting. This would have been the story of the week because the country would have been aghast and outraged.

And the Government price to be paid by giving into gang intimidation is not something any Government could, would or should bear.

Yet, here we are.

Yes, it's news but the media are not a patch on what they once were.

The policeman who appears to be leading the Ōpōtiki operation would have had a lot more than his bog-standard one-liner cut and pasted for a quick six o'clock news grab.

A few follow up questions would have been asked; why are you so soft? Why are the gangs running this place? Why aren't the schools open?

How come you are being held ransom for a week? Why are gangs able to dictate rules and outworking's in a way literally no one else could even dream of?

Those sorts of questions aren't quite as common these days.

Do the media represent the public's nonplussed attitude? Are we nonplussed, or are we punch drunk?

The Prime Minister on this show Tuesday, in a move you almost thought might lead somewhere, said it's not acceptable that schools are closed. So, you'd think there would be a chain reaction from the Police Minister to bang some heads.

But here we are Thursday and still, nothing. Nothing further from the Prime Minister, nothing from the minister, nothing from the police and nothing from the media.

Believe me, it wasn’t always this pathetic.

There have been very different and far, far better days.

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