Mongrel Mob ‘Media Liaison‘ among those calling on the Govt not to further arm police

The Mongrel Mob‘s public relations spokeswoman was among those calling for the Government to scrap a controversial programme which critics say has seen the further arming of the police.

That petition received 10,000 signatures and was presented to Greens co-leader Marama Davidson – who met with Police Commissioner Mike Bush to challenge him over the policy this afternoon.

Louise Hutchinson is the Waikato Mongrel Mob‘s “media liaison” and has been doing interviews on behalf of the gang for weeks.

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Although she said she wasn‘t representing the Mob at the handing over of the petition – she was there as a “concerned citizen” – she insisted gang members were being misrepresented in the media.

In fact, she said there was actually something “really amazing” happening within the Waikato chapter of the mob.

That amazing thing, she said, was “zero tolerance” for methamphetamine or domestic violence.

She said she has seen proof that this actually happens.

Asked what that proof was, she said: “I see healthy, thriving, functional families within the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom”.

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson met with Police Commissioner Mike Bush to challenge him over the policy this afternoon. Photo / Jason Walls

National Leader Simon Bridges, however, was not convinced.

“I think she [Hutchinson] is probably a well-intentioned person, but she‘s naïve and she‘s getting caught up with people who have very serious criminal backgrounds.”

The petition, which was tabled in Parliament today, calls for the end of a controversial police trial programme which opponents, including Davidson, say disadvantages minority communities.

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In October, Bush rolled out the trial of the special police vehicles which carried trained armed officers – the police hoped it would cut down response times to serious incidents involving firearms.

The trial was in Auckland, Canterbury and Waikato.

In March, Sonny Fatu, president of the Waikato branch of the Mongrel Mob, said members would not be handing over their guns, following the law change that saw military-style semi-automatic weapons banned.

Hutchinson insisted today that what was happening in the Waikato chapter was the “direct opposite” of what had been portrayed in the media.

She said the Mob does not pay her – “what I do is voluntary”.

Davidson has been a staunch opponent of the trial.

“Our justice system is biased – Māori are almost eight times more likely than Pākehā to be subject to police violence,” she said.

“It is therefore not unreasonable to assume armed forces units will be disproportionately deployed against Māori and Pasifika communities.”

The police have been approached for comment.

After her meeting with Bush, Davidson said it was clear that there was still reason to have valid concerns, and it was her preference that the trial did not go ahead.

“However, it is assuring to hear from the Commissioner that de-escalation is a priority for this specially trained unit.”

The trial will end in six months and the police will be doing an evaluation on how it‘s worked.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Lewis Gardner.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this afternoon said she did not believe in the general arming of the police – “and I say that as the daughter of a police officer.”

She said the police manage the Armed Offender‘s Squad and that‘s what the trial that they have been running across New Zealand has been about.

“That is very different from the general arming of the police, which I stand completely opposed to.”

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