Here’s something we don’t want. A Government whose senior figures are hazy about human rights.
When Bill English said ’’it’s clearly not the case that some New Zealanders have less human rights than others’’ it wasn’t half as clear as it should have been.
Not after his deputy Paula Bennett had muddied things mightily by saying there are different standards for people who leave a string of victims behind them.
We’re not being dainty here. She’s describing gang members with bad criminal records, and illegal firearms, selling methamphetamine. These would be poisonous scumbags.
When we catch and convict them their civil freedoms (not the same thing as human rights) are rightly yankable. For instance, your freedom to move around your society as you wish gets suspended if you’ve been jailed, pal.
We must be as adept as possible in our efforts to hunt out their illegal behaviour but some things cannot be swept aside in pursuit of that worthwhile end. We cannot create a subset of people who, under law, are less human than the rest of us.
If history has taught us anything it’s that fighting horrible behaviour with horrible behaviour tends to lead to more, not less, horrible behaviour all around.