Log In

Reset Password

Real question, will Kahukura work?


The controversial decision to fund a drug rehabilitation programme in Central Hawke’s Bay that is facilitated by the Mongrel Mob could hurt the Government, even though a pilot programme was successful and it is run by a consultancy called Hard to Reach, headed by former gang member Harry Tam and public health expert Angie Wilkinson.

The latest development has National leader Judith Collins asking the Auditor-General to investigate the issue. While that is a political move, there is clearly genuine public opposition to the proposal.

The Kahukura programme aims to support participants to work through past trauma and drug use, serving up to 10 people over eight weeks living at Whatuiapiti Marae in Patangata, northeast of Otane.

Many of those riled at this can only see the words Mongrel Mob and $2.75 million (over three years, coming from the Proceeds of Crime fund). The situation was probably not helped by Tam’s seemingly smug answer to an interviewer at the weekend, that “Jacinda trusts me”.

Tam told television’s Q+A that methamphetamine didn’t finance gangs, in his experience at least, but rather individuals within gangs.

“People get into selling meth initially to support their own habit, then they realise they can make quick money and big money and then they go on and on.”

People who joined gangs and were ravaged by addiction had often suffered abuse in state care.

“You only have to have a look at what’s coming out of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, you know where . . . gangs originated from in New Zealand. It’s the people that have been in state care and have been abused and their traumas have never been dealt with.

“So, it’s an intergenerational transfer of trauma and dysfunction.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, one of the Ministers who approved the funding, says she is comfortable with it “because it’s a programme that was not just brought forward by the Ministry of Health. It was supported by Corrections, Police, MSD and the local Hawke’s Bay Police, and they would, of course, know more of the programme because it was trialled for a short period of time in 2020, and I place weight in the local police officers’ view”.

The Police Association does not support the decision and the Government has made a bad job of explaining it . . . it probably now ranks with the Auckland Harbour cycle bridge for unpopularity.

The real question to be debated is whether the programme will work, but that is being lost in the uproar.

  1. Peter Jones says:

    NZ parliamentarians of every stripe are generally only expert at public relations, ie getting us to vote them in. Once installed and handed out their portfolios they generally have a very limited knowledge of the subject matter, so to cover their ineptitude and divert the blame for any potential failure they hire consultants at exorbitant rates to do the heavy lifting for them.
    What we see here is a mobster’s wife and a couple of shady cohorts with ties to the Labour Party convincing the minister in charge to give them the consultancy for the setting up and running of a programme aimed at curbing meth addiction, something that the minister in charge wouldn’t know where to begin to start. The $2.75m over four years allows these three people who’ve set up H2R to charge consultant rates to government which in other consultancies can be as high as $2-3k per day per consultant.
    Do you get the picture now?
    Nearly all of that money will be eaten up in consultancy fees but something will have been seen to be done to combat meth addiction. It’s called perception politics and area commander Aberahama told us a few years back that policing is also about perception these days.
    By taking this action, comrade is ‘perceived’ to have done something and that is all that matters to her. The meth heads can rot in hell just like the rest of us useless eaters for all she cares, but for now she has been seen to be “kind”.