Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Wendy Geus: National Party Faithful Return in Their Droves to the Fold

Newly minted Justice Minister Kiri Allan has been quick out of the blocks with some rhetoric of her own, calling National’s ‘soft on crime’ line “abhorrent” and (the old faithful) decrying their “knee jerk reaction” to the current crime wave, which even Allan does not deny.

Despite low voter turn-out, it was clear the thousands of Tauranga voters who returned to National (from Labour) in the by-election, giving Uffindell over 6000 more votes than Tinetti, didn’t agree that National’s ‘soft on crime’ accusation is just “abhorrent rhetoric”.

Sam Ufindell has his own member’s bill ready to go before parliament, promising a tough-on-crime approach in his city. A couple of the measures include banning gang patches in public and confiscating motorbikes for a month as punishment for associating and causing a public nuisance.

This would be a ‘victim centric’ approach to crime, something Allan has also promised in a flurry of announcements since her appointment, but which Ardern’s Government has yet to deliver on, and which Ufindell is attempting to put into action with a lot less fanfare.

More doey less hui?

Kiri Allan is either tone-deaf or is just hamstrung by the Government’s adherence to ideology, if she hadn’t noticed the Tauranga result indicates that a tougher approach to crime, one of Uffindell’s key election promises, hit the spot and turned the result into a landslide for National.

She is a younger, more (legally) qualified and articulate version of her predecessor but she is still singing from the same old song sheet: including continuing with the repealing of the Three Strikes law, which has outraged National and ACT, who originally introduced it in their previous government.

The PM, who has come out from her hiding place to travel to Europe next week to speak at a NATO meeting and meet Boris, opined it is “very hard to read into” the result of the by-election.


Tinetti tracked just 1856 votes and four percentage points behind Bridges in 2020, but saw that margin slip to more than 6000 on Saturday, mirroring Labour’s drop in popularity, from the heady days of 2020! Plenty of food for thought.

Not helpful, with Labour on a downward trajectory, is the fact that, although one of Labour’s most well-liked and hard-working MPs, newly appointed Justice Minister Allan is known, along with Willie Jackson, as one of the ‘activist’ politicians of the party.

This was quickly made clear in her response to a question about the progress of the beleaguered ‘hate speech’ legislation:

She said she was “not opposed” to having it (hate speech) in place this term. Unlike her colleagues this woman is definitive, I’ll give her that, but on this subject is that astute politics?

Many had hoped with this smart young woman now in charge of the ministry she would see the futility of flogging this dead horse. But no, despite huge opposition to it she is pursuing it, like Mahuta with Three Waters, ignoring the people’s voice.

I see in my crystal ball fun and games with National’s highly competent justice spokesperson, Paul Goldsmith doing a stellar job ‘attempting’ to hold the government to account over their continued manoeuvring to dismantle our democracy. And many a stoush with the justice minister as he prosecutes using common sense, logic and reason, an alien concept to Allen and her colleagues.

The recent refusal by The Herald and The Press to publish Goldsmith’s opinion piece (on E Can’s decision, enabled by legislation, to create two seats for Maori and thereby dilute the value of the electorate’s vote) is ‘abhorrent’ and evidence that the Labour Government has successfully bought their silence on He Puapua issues.

Wendy Geus is a former speechwriter and generalist communications advisor in local government. She now writes for the pure love of it. This article was originally published HERE

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