Thursday, June 12, 2014

Smalley tears into Labour

Rachel Smalley writes an opinion column on the Newstalk ZB website. And her column this morning tears into the Labour Party and Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford for politicising the murder of Henderson dairy owner Arun Kumar; Smalley opines:

Labour, it seems, has been quick to politicise the murder of dairy owner Arun Kumar in Henderson, and you'll no doubt be aware by now that a 13-year-old has been charged with his murder.
Labour MP Phil Twyford has been quick to jump on this. He says Mr Kumar's death raises questions about whether the community has been let down by the authorities.
This was in a media release that came out last night. Mr Twyford questions what kind of country we've become when a dairy owner is killed in his shop at seven o'clock in the morning and allegedly by a 13-year-old with a knife. He's right to question that. We're all questioning that.
However Mr Twyford suggests that questions should be asked about why there hasn't been a more visible police presence in Henderson with regular foot patrols to discourage law-breaking. There is a suggestion that a more visible police presence would have prevented this crime.
I don't think you can say that a lack of police resources contributed, on some level, to Mr Kumar's death. I don't think that police officers walking the streets would have stopped such a senseless crime. Whoever killed Mr Kumar had no compassion or respect for humanity, and I don't believe that you could have prevented what happened by instructing a policeman to walk down the street from time to time. 

We agree with Rachel Smalley. Unless a police officer had been outside the dairy or very close by, the young thugs who allegedly tried to rob Mr Kumar and ended up killing him would not have been deterred. If there had been a police officer outside Mr Kumar's store, in all likelihood, the youths would have gone and done the same thing to another shop-keeper.

Ms Smalley continues:

Tragedies like the murder of Arun Kumar should not be politicised. We've seen politicians out in Henderson. Len Brown's been there, the Auckland mayor. Labour MPs have paid their respects. But I think the Kumar family's greatest support right now will come from the police, not from politicians.
I don't want to see more police on the streets. I want to see better parenting in our homes. That's where the issue of accountability lies. Children who are loved and nurtured don't grow up to be killers.
Labour, I think, has picked the wrong fight on this. 

Once again, we agree with Smalley. Phil Twyford should have simply made a simple statement acknowledging Mr Kumar's tragic death, and passing on his and Labour's condolences to the Kumar family. There would be plenty of time to grandstand later in the piece.

Twyford will face stiff competition for the Te Atatu seat in September from Alfred Ngaro, who issued this simple statement via Facebook:


Politicians have one flaw which is prevalent right across the political spectrum. They tend to want to use a thousand words when a hundred will suffice, and Phil Twyford seems to have fallen into that trap on Tuesday. A brief message such as Mr Ngaro's would have been just as effective, and wouldn't have attracted negative attention for both Labour and Mr Twyford. This was definitely a case where less would have been more.

There will be a time and a place to debate the underlying issues in the case. But Phil Twyford has made a major error in judgment in trying to start that debate before Mr Kumar's family have even had the opportunity to send him on his final journey.


Simo said...

She has been around the HOSK for a while, maybe some of his pithy journalism is starting to rub off on her perception of real world - real consequences.

Keeping Stock said...

Here's hoping you're right Simo.