Police Minister Poto Williams is against the permanent arming of police.
I agree with her stance but not her reason:
. . .Williams told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Yardley this morning that she supported police officers being armed when they needed to be, but did not think it should extend to the permanent arming of the force.
This was because she had listened to overwhelming feedback from the Māori, Pacific Island and South Auckland communities who didn’t want it.
The communities she represented – Māori and Pacific – who were telling her “loud and clear” that the general arming of police and the Armed Response Teams (ARTs) were a real concern to them and had been distressed to learn armed police were routinely patrolling their streets, she said. . .
The communities she represents? Shouldn’t that be her electorate and the police, first?:
In an interview with Newstalk ZB this morning Minister of Police Poto Williams made it crystal clear that despite being their Minister, the police and their safety are not a priority for her, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.
“The interview was a train wreck from beginning to end and quite frankly it is time the Prime Minister steps in to replace her with someone who is capable of advocating for and caring about police officers.
“I have been Minister of Police and it was an absolute privilege to work with the people who risk their own safety to enforce the law and protect us all in this country. The police force deserves a Minister who does not look at them as if they are all violent racists.
“It is unforgivable that Minister Williams would not even condemn anarchist group People Against Prisons Aotearoa when read a statement that said they were committed to ‘disarming, defunding, and abolishing the bloodstained racist institution of the New Zealand Police’.
“Labour make the mistake of thinking they speak for all Māori and Pasifika people when they say they have listened to the ‘communities’. No ethnic group is a monolith and in my electorate of Papakura I am hearing that my multi-cultural constituents support police and want them to be able to sort out gang members.
“This cannot go on. Labour has to get real about crime and about empowering the police to do their job. This nonsense of making the police the ‘bad guys’ is creating a more tense and hostile environment which inevitably leads to more dangerous altercations. . .
Empowering police doesn’t necessarily mean arming them all, but it ought to mean the Minister making them her priority.
Kerre McIvor asks who does Potu Williams actually represent?
. . . Police Minister Poto Williams, who was on with Mike Yardley this morning, says the people she represents are dead against routinely arming police.
We did ask for clarification from the Minister as to who exactly her people are.
She is a New Zealander of Cook Island descent, the MP for Christchurch East and the Police Minister.
However, in the interview, the people she says she represents appear to be exclusively Māori and Pacific Islanders from south Auckland.
Not Christchurch, not New Zealanders as a whole, and not the police. . .
Heather du Plessis Allan also says the Minister is supposed to be representing the police:
I feel for our country’s cops at the moment, especially after those train wreck comments by their Minister Poto Williams this morning.
My problem is not that she opposes the arming of frontline police, she’s entitled to her opinion. My problem is that she says her reason for that is because the communities she represents don’t want it.
I’m talking about the communities I represent which is Māori and Pasifika communities. What is she talking about? She’s the Police Minister.
If there is a group she is supposed to represent and have the back of it’s the police. She is the person who is supposed to go to the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister and argue for resources and funding to make sure cops can do their jobs.
And if there’s a second group she should be representing, it’s the people of Christchurch east who elected her. Who are a mix of ethnicities – 12 per cent Māori, 4 per cent Pasifika, 87 per cent Pakeha, 5 per cent Asian. But instead, she makes it sound like she’s the representative of South Auckland’s Māori and Pasifika communities. Christchurch East voters should be annoyed. . .
Unless they’re standing as an independent, candidates for parliament represent parties when they’re campaigning.
Once they’re elected as electorate MPs their duty is to represent their electorate, albeit wearing their party’s colour.
If they become ministers they have a duty to represent and advocate for the organisations and people their portfolio covers.
What message is the minister sending to the people in her Christchurch East electorate and the police who are the people she is supposed to be representing?
How will police, which includes many Maori and Pasifika, be feeling, knowing their minister doesn’t have their backs?