A spokesperson for the Waikato Mongrel Mob says their Covid-19 group has been resolved and the narrative demonizing gangs is dangerous and must be stopped.
Waikato Mongrel Mob spokeswoman Louise Hutchinson denies allegations that the gang was distributing methamphetamine across the alert level border into or out of Auckland.
Two gang leaders, Waikato Mixed-race Mafia Kingdom Chapter Chief Sonny Fatupaito and Mixed-Race Mafia for Life Harry Tam, have waivers to enter Auckland to help facilitate testing and contact tracing. between members.
Yesterday, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said during a briefing that gang members are part of the latest Covid-19 group.
Hutchinson said Morning report the gang narrative is politically motivated and an agenda driven by the National Party.
“As of Monday, the group we had in our Mongrel Mob Pasifika chapter in South Auckland has been resolved thanks to Sonny’s intervention,” Hutchison said.
The chapter had had four positive cases and more than 20 people in MIQ.
“We tested all the members, all the members of their whānau, and from there, that group has been resolved.”
She said that due to a story in the media at the beginning of the outbreak, “our people went into hiding and stopped communicating with us.”
“We are talking about communicating with the most discriminated types of people in New Zealand who do not trust authority.
“We are in a global pandemic that is deadly, you have to be very careful with the way you communicate with our people.”
Hipkins said yesterday that there were gang members involved in the current outbreak.
Gang members were being “more active” than would be consistent with alert level rules, he said.
Hipkins acknowledged that some gang members were “more active” than would be consistent with the alert level rules, but defended the exemptions.
“Our number one priority here is to stop Covid-19 in its tracks and that means doing what we have to do to deal with the virus … where we have been able to recruit gang leaders to help with that and where they have been willing to do so. , so we’ve done it. “
Hutchinson said New Zealanders had to stop demonizing gangs in the midst of a pandemic because it would make it difficult for members to access during the pandemic.
“It is extremely dangerous, this unfolding narrative and it must stop.
“The fact and the numbers are that there are currently no gang members with Covid-19 in Waikato.”
Waikato Mongrel Mob does not distribute or have any role in the distribution of methamphetamine on the Auckland or Waikato border, he said.
Hutchinson did not have a number of members who were vaccinated, but said many were and that another vaccination event would take place next week.
Some members who had been isolated in MIQ had to wait four weeks before being able to take the vaccine.
Tam said she was in Auckland for two weeks and helped hard-to-reach people in the community get tested and provide support to families.
“Some of the people I was involved with had gang connections and some did not, so part of the problem is that the authorities misidentified the people.”
“There is a larger community of people who have been neglected for a long time and who have responded in their own way by basically not being part of the larger society.”
Personal responsibility was important, but it had to be viewed in the context of people’s backgrounds, he said.
“I think you have to remember that a lot of people are not that well informed, they don’t have a record. A lot of our people have been in institutional care from a very young age.”
There have to be people on the ground who can work with gang members, he said.