Gangs rule the roost and we’re only helping them
The motorbike pulled up next to me at the lights. It was shining in the sun, the chrome awash with reflections of the street, the sky and the cars around it filled with men staring with lust in their eyes at the mechanical monster burbling away beside us.
It had sensual curves and tyres wider than my car. This wasn’t just a motorbike. This was automotive art and we all knew it. It was part mid-life crisis on wheels and in part a metaphor for sexuality and freedom.
It personified the dreams of middle class 40-hour-a-week working men who want to be the rebel – just for one day.
The admiring looks from others parked at the lights revealed their unspoken longing; they too wished they had the cash to buy the gorgeous creation god would ride if he had leathers.
As it took off from the lights leaving us all behind, we all sat there for a second watching it depart, the smoke and the sound and the flying hair filled us with thoughts of Jack Kerouac styled freedom on lost highways until we noticed the Nazi-styled helmet and gang patch riding on it.
The owner wasn’t a divorced mid-lifer riding a dream bike down Victoria Street. The gang patch told a different story.
As he rode away with the smoke hanging in the air I wondered how he could afford it. I would never own that bike. I wanted to know how he could?
The answer is obvious. We paid for it.
It’s proceeds from drug crime. I later wondered why every patched member riding a Harley isn’t stopped by cops and asked to provide evidence detailing where the money came from to buy it?
Is the owner employed on a six figure salary to keep his kids fed, school fees paid, the mortgage payments up to date and the Harley Davison well oiled?
So far this year, around $14m has been recovered Under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act. I figured there was a bunch more the cops could have snared riding up Victoria St in a haze of smoke and noise that morning. There’s a harsh reality to face in Godzone. The patched elephant in the room, in the city, in the country, in parliament, in council chambers and on our streets is gangs rule. Prime Minister Ardern may think she runs the country. She doesn’t, gangs do.
The cops and politicians are out muscled, out staffed, out thought, out organised and out gunned. Gangs rule New Zealand. They know it and we don’t want to admit it.
The greatest threat to New Zealand’s welfare and well-being isn’t climate change, it’s gangs.
But there was no discussion of this fact at the United Nations by the prime minister. No acknowledgment of the reality of life on New Zealand’s streets.
Whether you’re in small Waikato towns (Te Kuiti, Ngaruawahia), Coromandel beach resorts or the big smoke, drug money and gang affiliation rules the towns and impacts on life on the street. The sad sight of young kids walking the gang swagger on Hamilton streets while still in their teens should be sounding alarms for Maori leaders. But they remain silent.
While government makes the usual noises about getting tough with another crack down on gangs, the truth is they have already won. This is a no contest competition. It is game over. You have to hand it to the gangs, for ‘clubs’ populated by ‘society’s losers’ they really know how to run big business.
It’s just a shame they hurt their own whanau and mokopuna at the same time as they’re posing as supportive brothers in arms, a new whanau to other disenfranchised Maori.
As that bike pulled away I wondered where the Maori leadership is with gangs?
Is Tainui chief executive Donna Flavell going to invite gang leaders to live in warm dry houses in their new Te Kaarearea development?
Is she going to take a leadership role with tribal gang members who feel more affiliation to the Mongrel Mob than Tainui? Is Tainui going to own the gang problem affecting tribal members? It’s going to take more than gang leaders making sandwiches for school kids or renouncing their ways while they discover god or te reo to make a lasting difference.
The way you cut the head off the snake is to stop buying the things they make.
The gang problem in New Zealand isn’t solely a Maori problem.
It’s a white middle class problem. If you don’t like gangs then don’t finance them through the purchase of drugs for your next quiet night at home in Hillcrest.
So the next time a Harley Davidson pulls up next to you at the lights with gang patch in clear sight, ask yourself, who paid for the bike?
If you did, you’re part of the problem and not part of the solution.
If you don’t like gangs then don’t finance them through the purchase of drugs for your next quiet night at home in Hillcrest.
How can patched gang members afford nice bikes? asks Max Christoffersen.