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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Gang harassment law

The government have their GCSB domestication of spying Bill going through the House - to much deserved criticism which will be kept up now it has been delayed a fortnight - but I hadn't noticed this other piece of legislative fascism of the NZ parliament slip by:

NZ Herald:
A bill banning gang insignia in places owned by the Crown or local authorities has passed into law tonight.
Police would be given the power to seize gang patches and official colours within a few days. Offenders could be faced with a $2000 fine.
The Prohibition of Gang Insignia Government Premises Bill's sponsor MP Mark Mitchell said he did not expect an escalation in tension between police and gang members as a result of the changes.
The law change will apply to 34 gangs identified in the legislation, but also allows the Minister of Police to identify an organisation as a gang.
The bill was voted through by National, Act, Independent MPs Peter Dunne and Brendan Horan and New Zealand First.

Labour, Greens and Mana against - and for good reason. It is unnecessary, provocative and open to misuse.  It is worth mentioning that the MP promoting this Bill, Mark Mitchell, makes no mention of fighting the scourge of gang regalia on his website - listing "safer communities" and P as his last priority. His parents were all variously in unifrom under the Crown it appears, and all you really need to know about him is this excerpt:
In 1989 I joined the New Zealand Police...

The only ones living in constant fear of gang uniforms are the NZ Police.  It's not really much of an issue for anyone else.  The regalia is only as scary or intimidating as you want it to be, so obviously it must be terrifying for the police.  It is the people wearing it, not the symbols themselves, that are potentially threatening. One would think the fact they have gone out of their way to indentify themselves - to alert the public to their danger - is actually rather helpful and beneficial to law enforcement.  That's not police thinking.

So this law against naughty logos will be little more than merely a tool for petty harrassment.  Wearing the wrong clothes in official-type places will now be an offence.  How absurd.

The Bill has just been passed, but I take it the version online at the moment is the same as the final text. 
3 Purpose 
The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the display of gang insignia on premises of departments of the Public Service, the Police, Crown entities, local authorities, and schools.

The absurdity is compounded by the listing of the gangs - the ultimate act of sanction and legitimisation. Parliament have given them the undisputed recognition of notoriety and outlaws status that the gangs themselves crave.

So, from the interpretation section, here are the organisations the law in NZ now defines as official gangs. If you aren't on this list then you aren't a real gang::
gang means any organisation, association, or group of persons—
(a) that is known by a name that is the same as, or substantially similar to, any of the following:
  • (i) Aotearoa Natives:
  • (ii) Bandidos MC:
  • (iii) Black Power:
  • (iv) Devils Henchmen MC:
  • (v) Epitaph Riders:
  • (vi) Filthy Few MC:
  • (vii) Forty-Five MC:
  • (viii) Greasy Dogs MC:
  • (ix) Head Hunters MC:
  • (x) Hells Angels MC:
  • (xi) Highway 61 MC:
  • (xii) Hu-Hu MC:
  • (xiii) Killerbeez:
  • (xiv) King Cobras:
  • (xv) Lone Legion MC:
  • (xvi) Lost Breed MC:
  • (xvii) Magogs MC:
  • (xviii) Mongrel Mob:
  • (xix) Mangu Kaha:
  • (xx) Mothers MC:
  • (xxi) Nomads:
  • (xxii) Outcasts MC:
  • (xxiii) Outlaws MC:
  • (xxiv) Rebels MC:
  • (xxv) Red Devils MC:
  • (xxvi) Road Nights MC:
  • (xxvii) Satans Slaves MC:
  • (xxviii) Sinn Fein MC (not being a branch, or an associated organisation, of the political party known by a similar name):
  • (xxix) Southern Vikings MC:
  • (xxx) Storm Troopers:
  • (xxxi) Taupiri MC:
  • (xxxii) Tribal Huk:
  • (xxxiii) Tribesmen MC:
  • (xxxiv) Tyrants MC;

Loving the Sinn Fein note (Gerry Adams and co. on Harleys not really the image I had despite watching all those episodes of 'Sons of Anarchy'). Also: Mangu Kaha is the other name for Black Power - I am not sure of any other double-ups - so that is 33 gangs.

They are all presumed - intimated but not directly stated - by this Act to be criminal enterprises by virtue of the designation powers conferred by section 5 (2):
The Minister of Police may not make a recommendation under subsection (1) unless he or she is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation, association, or group proposed to be identified has the following characteristics:
  • (a) a common name or common identifying signs, symbols, or representations; and
  • (b) its members, associates, or supporters individually or collectively promote, encourage, or engage in criminal activity.

Here is the major provocation (by bolding):
7 Powers of arrest and seizure in relation to persons displaying gang insignia

(1) A constable may, without warrant,—(a) arrest a person whom the constable has good cause to suspect has committed an offence against section 6(2):(b) seize and remove gang insignia (by the use of force if necessary) that has been or is being displayed in Government premises.

(2) Gang insignia seized under subsection (1)(b) are forfeited to the Crown if the person from whom the gang insignia is taken pleads guilty to, or is convicted of, an offence against section 6(2).
(3) If gang insignia are forfeited to the Crown under subsection (2), the gang insignia may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the court, either at the time of the conviction for the offence under section 6(2) or on a subsequent application, directs.
Note the "has been" wording - the police can go and remove by force something that they suspect may have been displayed - some time ago even - in a "Government premises".
Note there is no "reasonable"-ness in the use of force authorisation either .  The police aren't required to act reasonably as such, or "in the circumstances" etc. which indicates any appreciation of context.  It is simply left open: "if necessary". Necessary according to the cop at the time.
And it gets worse:
8 Power to stop vehicle to exercise powers of arrest or seizure
(1) A constable may stop a vehicle without a warrant to exercise either or both of the powers in section 7(1) in relation to a person if the constable has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is in or on the vehicle.
(2) A constable who stops a vehicle under subsection (1) must—
  • (a) be wearing a uniform or distinctive cap, hat, or helmet with a badge of authority affixed to that cap, hat, or helmet; or
  • (b) be following immediately behind the vehicle in a motor vehicle displaying flashing blue lights, or flashing blue and red lights, and sounding a siren.

(3) A constable exercising the stopping power conferred by subsection (1) must, immediately after the vehicle has stopped,—
  • (a) identify himself or herself to the driver of the vehicle; and
  • (b) tell the driver that the stopping power is being exercised under this section for the purpose of exercising powers under section 7(1); and
  • (c) if not in uniform and if so required, produce evidence that he or she is a constable.

(4) Without limiting section 7(1), a constable exercising the stopping power conferred by subsection (1) may do any 1 or more of the following:
  • (a) search the vehicle to locate a person referred to in subsection (1):
  • (b) search the vehicle to locate gang insignia that the constable may seize under section 7(1)(b):
  • (c) require any person in or on the vehicle to state his or her name, address, and date of birth, or any of those particulars that the constable may specify:
  • (d) require the vehicle to remain stopped for as long as is reasonably necessary to exercise the powers—
    • (i) in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c); and
    • (ii) in section 7(1), in relation to a person referred to in subsection (1) of this section.

(5) Every person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 who, without reasonable excuse,—
  • (a) fails to stop as soon as practicable when required to do so by a constable exercising the power conferred by this section; or
  • (b) fails to comply with a requirement of a constable under subsection (4)(c) or (d).
So it's the cops who have the uniform and identity requirements now under (1) and (2). They have to wear certain things while the gang members have to be stripped of theirs. And they have to sound a siren. No siren... no legal right to search or seize. One without the other - no right. Ridiculous rules for a ridiculous law which the supposed gang members and their lawyers will be driving buses through.
Government premises
(a) means the whole or part of any structure (including any associated grounds) that is owned by, or is under the control of,—
(i) the Crown, acting through a department, the Police, or a Crown entity; or
(ii) a local authority; and
(b) includes the buildings and grounds of any school; and
(c) includes the grounds of—
(i) any public hospital or health facility that is owned by, or is under the control of, a District Health Board; and
(ii) any public swimming pool or aquatic centre that is owned by, or is under the control of, a local authority; but

(d) excludes any residential dwelling that is owned by, or is under the control of, Housing New Zealand Corporation or a local authority


At 10/8/13 8:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stupid govt can't spell,

"(xxvi) Road Nights MC:"

Should be Road Knights lol.

At 10/8/13 3:14 pm, Blogger MCA said...

If this was directed elsewhere would we call it fascist?

At 16/8/13 1:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

who is brave enough to ask to add NZ Police to this list and strip off this gang from their scary labels (for most of the population)?

At 18/8/13 12:22 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On overseas discussion forums they have taken to dropping euphemisms and referring to (what is usually referred to here) as "uniforms" - i.e. "police uniforms" as "costumes". How about your blog doing this as well?

After all "costume" is a more accurate description. Going to a recent kindergarten "dress up day" where the kids were mostly dressed as "soldiers" with elaborate hats decorated with tinsel, tin foil and yellow/gold thread, it reminded me of how silly the police "dress up" really is. And I thought "these costumes, like police costumes, are basically designed to confer "authority" and scare people. So "calling a spade a spade" would go a long way towards getting people to see just how ridiculous this all is.

At 23/8/13 9:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Black power or other maori gangs might challenge the law, as a clear breech of article 2 of the treaty of waitangi. May have grounds for it too


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