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501 , Image With No Substance

Current National Party leader Judith Collins joins mainstream media’s “opinion” on 501 deportees.

I often ask myself the same question, what does the mainstream media or any Political party have to gain by painting 501’s as gangsters? It's a broadstroke profile that really has to be questioned.

How many times are we to see the same photo of patched gang members posing with gold plated motorbikes? Why must the bulk of comments published be that of gang members? And more importantly, where are the current statistics on what percentage of returning offenders are gang members. Not “associates”, an expansive and much-overused word, but actual members?

National Party leader Judith Collins has now joined in, pushing ahead with plans to charge deportees for their 14-day isolation period. Apparently because Kiwi deportees from Australia have “plenty of money for gold-plated motorbikes” (insert afore mentioned gang and gold bike screen shot from YouTube) so surly they can pay.

Also, apparently “some of these people coming back under deportation from Australia have a tremendous amount of access to cash.” Again, please show me some official figures to support these statements.

Its a group profile pattern that, since I arrived back in NZ 10 months ago, has become painfuly obvious.

On June 27 this year, RNZ reported that NZ Corrections had stated they where "aware of the safety risks deportees may pose if they're put up in the same accommodation as other people arriving in the country". Ask any number of 501's and they will confirm they stayed in hotels with other guests and no extra security. So how is that statement valid or even true?

In another report Health Minister Chris Hipkins stated, in relation to returned offenders, "In the eyes of the law, they've done their time, they have been released, and we have to treat them accordingly". This again goes against the grain of reality as all 501's are subject to strict supervision, similer to probation, and in no way are free citizens on arrival.

And in relation to the 30 recent deportee arrivals from Australia, Mr Hipkins offered the cherry on top. He said "they are keeping the details of the managed isolation facility private to prevent vigilante justice". Really?

Former National leader Todd Muller also found time, amazingly, to drum up the fear stating "New Zealanders would be rightly nervous about deportees". He added that even the "Army and Police" can't offer the security required.

July 2019, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff stated in an article that "it is inevitable people deported from Australia will revert to criminal activity, because they have no support when they arrive". The following paragraph then detailed a shooting at "Clover Park" 6 July. The shooting had no relevance to 501 deportees, so why was it included in the same article?

It would seem no one is being held accountable for this line of pursuit. Political or otherwise.

I have personally been in contact with many deportees and not one has a gold plated motorbike. Not one of them has access to large sums of cash and not one was a gang member. OK, I know that there are some who do fit the bill but why are they the only ones we read about. Perhaps it’s the case that for exciting news headlines and grinding out political brownie points, gangs are good for business.

Next time I try to achieve a voice for deportees or share first hand news with the Government and other media outlets, I should attach that group gang photo and see if I get a response.

Then perhaps we will start looking at solving the issues, not just pointing them out.


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