New Zealand Green Party Co-Leader Receives Backlash For Attending A Local Mob Gathering

A few days ago on May 1 2021, New Zealand Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson as well as the Human Rights Commissionner Paul Hunt attended a Mongrel Mob gathering at the Waikato chapter’s headquarters in Hamilton, NZ. Some of the topics that were covered included justice, human rights, and systemic racism.

In a now deleted tweet, Davidson described the event as a “fabulous community event for justice”.

After the event, she quickly received backlash from the Opposition with Simeon Brown, the National Party’s spokesperson for police, stating that: “Her tweets calling the Mongrel Mob meeting ‘a fabulous community event for justice‘ was an extra slap in the face”.

What is the Mongrel Mob?

The Mongrel Mob is an organized street gang of young men in New Zealand that mainly operates King Country, Ōpōtiki, Waikato and Hastings. The group came to be in the 1960s and is still active to this day.

Some of the criminal activities they have been known to participate in include the sale of drugs and firearms. Some other incidents include reports of extreme violence against other rival gangs, rapes at the hands of gang members, and murder.

However, it is also important to note that the gang has also been known to promote community engagement within their active districts. In 2005, President Roy Dunn kickstarted a labour-hire business that offered demolition and painting services, amongst other things, and was created in order to give youth the chance to do meaningful work. In 2010, Dunn announced a partnership with the Salvation Army to tackle the issue of methamphetamine drug use.

Marama Davidson and Paul Hunt under fire

Simeon Brown went on to claim that by attending this event, Marama Davidson was disrespecting the people that experienced violence and sexual assault at the hands of the gang’s members.

Not only that, but Brown’s comments made it clear that he believes Davidson, as the Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, should have thought twice about attending and speaking at the gathering.

Davidson and Hunt also received criticism on behalf of the ACT Party, with justice spokesperson Nicole McKee commenting that the Mongrel Mob is a source of terror for neighbouring communities as well as emphasizing the notable presence of gun violence that they bring.

“Hunt, proving why we need to abolish the Human Rights Commission, was reported as saying: ‘I recognise that rhetoric about being tough on gangs is stigmatising….It’s about building relationships… it’s about inclusion and belonging… it must take into account the intergenerational impact of colonisation’. What on earth were they thinking?”

Nicole McKee, Justice spokesperson for the ACT Party

Their reaction

On the other hand, Hunt defended his presence at the gathering by saying that this was part of a much bigger issue. Members of the Mongrel Mob gang deserve to be included in discussions about social issues and other problems that they may be facing.

He underlined the solidarity towards the Muslim community that the Mongrel Mob Kingdom demonstrated following the Christchurch massacre that happened on March 15 2019.

The Mongrel Mob Kingdom has attempted to cut itself off from old problematic ties in the past few years. Nowadays, they try to center their focus on issues of employment, drug abuse, health, and education, amongst other things.

They acknowledge the grave mistakes some of its members have made in the past and are trying to implement important changes for its members and the communities around them.

Source: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/05/green-party-s-marama-davidson-human-rights-commissioner-under-fire-for-attending-waikato-mongrel-mob-gathering.html

Athena Banis

Athena is a second year undergraduate student at Concordia University in Montreal pursuing a BA in Honours Political Science. She is passionate about international relations, tackling social issues and defending human rights.

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