Hi all - I just want to put a local Hawkes Bay perspective on the Kahukura Drug Rehab funding for a program based in Waipawa with strong connections to Sonny SMITH who is National President of Notorious Mongrel Mob.
Before I go further I would like to say that I am normally in favour of any initiative that will support those fighting meth addiction and anything that would help take meth out of our communities. This includes support for the non traditional service providers because it is a case of ‘not one size fits all’.
Having said that here are my reasons why I don’t support this initiative in Waipawa.
I know the people involved and spent the last 20 years of my career predominantly in the Hastings CIB conducting investigations into gang crime. There were the usual beatings, stabbing, shooting. UC operations, telephone intercepts, electronics and informants etc etc.
The big difference in Hastings and Central Hawkes Bay is that there is only one gang, the Mongrel Mob. Albeit there are now multiple chapters and growing numbers. There are individuals from other gangs but they keep a low profile. Notorious are one of the oldest and most established in the area.
Over the years Sonny has been caught up in UC operations, electronics etc and has had numerous search warrants at his home address. Pretty sure I have dug up the back yard where the ‘community garden’ is located. Not much happens in Hawkes Bay or CHB that isn’t sanctioned by Sonny; but he is now smart enough to keep at ‘arms reach’ so to speak.
Fair to say that Notorious (and other chapters) have also been involved in a few government funded work schemes over the years that didn’t produce many tangible results.
So onto specifics. In May 2021 Hawkes Bay Police terminated Operation Dusk that targeted senior members of the mob mainly members of Notorious. Drugs, guns, cash etc were seized including about $2million in assets. Predominantly it related to meth dealing.
One of the higher profile targets that was caught up in the operation was John Joseph MORRELL (JJ MORRELL). JJ subsequently died of a suspected suicide a week later on 21/05/2021. There is a good summary around the operation in a STUFF article dated 11/06/2021.
JJ was a senior patched Notorious member and there was nothing that he (and the others) was doing that would not have been sanctioned by gang hierarchy….that’s just how they do business.
When Operation Dusk was terminated police were jubilant and celebrated seizure of the assets under the proceeds of crime and rightly said it was a deterrent for getting involved in organised crime.
Now less than 2 months later $2.75million is going back to an initiative associated to same Notorious gang members to get gang members off meth? I personally don’t see how they have changed their ways in such a short period of time.
I would also like to point out that Hawkes Bay has some of the highest use of meth in the country. In Hastings and CHB it is all meth trade is related to the Mongrel Mob (different chapters etc), they control the trade and create the addictions and peddle the misery. They also have the power to stop the supply of meth anytime they want to forgo their lucrative trade…not likely.
About 12 months ago a local Flaxmere (suburb of Hastings) community champion by the name of Henare O’Keefe suggested that some of the $3million on proceeds of crime money seized in Hawkes Bay (prior to Op Dusk) should go back to community initiatives to keep kids out of gangs and in school/sports/employment….guess what…it couldn’t be done.
Hawkes Bay also has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the country, and one of the highest suicide rates in general (ironic that JJ died of suspected suicide).
The Kahukura program has been given $2.75million over 4 years and is likely to have maybe 30-40 participants per year at best.
That kind of money would be of significantly better use in other community initiatives or funding Mike King’s Gumboot initiative…and it would have better oversight.
The money going back into this initiative is a slap in the face for Hawkes Bay Police that did some great work in Op Dusk and other operations. It is a slap in the face for all the other meth addicts that can’t get help because of lack of placements on programs…when this one is set aside for gang members that have caused much of the addiction in the community. It is a slap in the face for many other worthwhile community initiatives that can’t get funding.
While the Kahukura program may have good backing from other people and providers it lacks all credibility when it is associated with the mob and Sonny Smith in CHB/Hawkes Bay.
I’m sure that there are plenty of politicians and Wellington bureaucrats (Police included) that are celebrating the ‘warm fuzzies’ of engagement with non traditional providers etc etc….but I don’t think they understand the wider implications of this decision and their support for this program.
These observations of a NZ Police officer relating to the government funding to the Mongrel Mob were first posted HERE.
The Herald reports:
A Mongrel Mob leader of a drug rehabilitation programme which got $2.75 million from the Government is subject to a six-month suspended sentence for a stun gun found after a police search at his home.
A stun gun constructed to look like a torch was found in the bedside drawer of Central Hawke’s Bay Mongrel Mob president Sonny Smith’s Waipawa home during a police search on February 10.
It led to the 57-year-old appearing in the Waipukurau District Court last month where he denied knowledge of the item.
So Jacinda Ardern thought it was acceptible to give $2.75 million of taxpayers' money to a gang leader who has just been convicted of possession of an illegal weapon. Unbelievable!