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Mike Yardley: Police Secretary Poto Williams’ Performance On Newstalk ZB An Epic Fail

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New Zealand

Police Secretary Poto Williams speaks with reporters in Parliament, Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

OPINION

There is no doubt that the police minister’s performance on Newstalk ZB on Wednesday was an epic failure. And the fallout was huge, with calls to fire the minister, Poto Williams.

I really wanted to know why she was so fierce against those armed response teams. What had stiffened her spine? Let alone her relentless resistance to the general arming of the police. No matter how many officers are attacked or shot.

I explained to Williams that she, along with the police commissioner, placed far too much value on the awakened radical pressure groups that claim to represent public opinion on police issues.

Just speak. Action station. And People Against Prisons Aotearoa. They are a bit like the cycling lobby, very organized, very adept at conquering councils, inundating them with submissions and courting favors.

I firmly believe that these groups, obsessed with policing, are driving the anti-police agenda and fueling hostility towards armed police.

The Police Secretary ducked my suspicions by claiming that she only represented the concerns of the Māori, Pacific and South Auckland communities, not the pressure groups.

The whole interview could have been sidetracked had I been concerned about who she says she represents. She is apparently the Māori and Pacific Police Minister.

But for that matter, I was glad she had dug her own hole. Who am I to stop a politician from continuing to hoist himself with his own petard, if they want to?

She accidentally punched a gaping hole in the prime minister’s oh-so-serious pledge on election night. “We will rule for all New Zealanders.”

My greater concern about Williams’ rhetoric is how indifferent she sounded to the ever-present threats facing our frontline police. She was more concerned about the number of arrests of Maori and people in the Pacific. It is clear that she thinks they are being rounded up by the police, targeted and wrongfully arrested.

And that topic of conversation will have found no end for those awakened radical pressure groups. Poto the parrot.

The police minister drinks the Kool-Aid.

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