Kiwi Polemicist

October 1, 2008

• Anti-gang laws are contrary to natural justice and a violation of civil liberties

Wanganui District Council is trying to push through a law forbidding the wearing of gang patches and tattoos, and this is now a step closer to coming into force. Gang members are usually sociopathic thugs (like many politicians*), but that does not alter the transcendent issues here. What are the transcendent issues?

1) simply wearing gang insignia is not a crime against property or person. The classical libertarian definition of a crime is thus: It is illicit to initiate or threaten invasive violence against a man or his legitimately owned property. As you read on you will see that we already have laws covering the threatening part, which is what this law is attempting to address.

2) this simply won’t work: the best way to deal with gangs is to legalise drugs

3) the police agree with me, saying that it won’t work and it will put the police in danger

4) like the Electoral Finance Act, this is yet another law that breaches the Bill of rights. The Mayor of Wanganui said:

One obstacle to the bill is that it technically breaches the Bill of Rights but Mr Laws said Parliament should put this to one side for the “greater good” of Wanganui.

There is a repeated pattern of the laws of NZ being put aside when they are inconvenient. Here Helen Clark leads by example.

5) there is another repeated pattern in NZ law, which is adding additional regulations to cover something that is already illegal. Liquor bans are a good example of this: we already have laws covering drunk-and-disorderly offences, but liquor bans are added to that, killing the civil liberties of the law abiding citizens who want to have a glass of wine at the beach and watch the sun go down.

There are already plenty of laws covering intimidation by gang members, and here is just one example:

Section 9 of the Summary Offences Act says:

Common assault
Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $4,000 who assaults any other person.

The definition of assault is:

Assault means the act of intentionally applying or attempting to apply force to the person of another, directly or indirectly, or threatening by any act or gesture to apply such force to the person of another, if the person making the threat has, or causes the other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; and to assault has a corresponding meaning [emphasis added]

So, we have a law with a very broad definition of assault that includes threatening behaviour, but instead of using that they want to add another illegal law that breaches the Bill of Rights.

6) the law will cover tattoos. So will the gang members start wearing balaclavas to cover their facial tattoos? Will balaclavas then be made illegal in Wanganui?

7) the law will allow the seizure of tattoos that are gang insignia. Yes, the State can now strap you down and take away your tattoos. This is like a nightmarish science fiction movie come true.

8.) this opens the way for the State to outlaw other groups and insignia that it finds inconvenient. Many Christians are opposed to the anti-smacking law, and if they get too obstreperous will the wearing of crosses be made illegal?

This law is an example of the despotic Police State gone mad and should be opposed by all those who value personal freedoms and common sense.


* here’s ten candidates for the diagnosis of “Highly Paid Sociopathic Thug”:

  • Helen Clark, a.k.a the White Witch
  • Winston Peters
  • Sue Bradford
  • Michael Cullen
  • George W. Bush
  • Barack Obama
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Mao Zedong
  • Pol Pot

Helen will be pleased to know that she has the international status that she so desperately wants.



  1. Very well written, great points. Targeting gangs directly will never work, it will just make them stronger as internal disputes are ignored to fight the common enemy (the state). Groups thrive on persecution. Rather we need to be targeting illegal gang activities.

    You could easily define a church group, or any club, as a gang. Some churches are already defined as “cults” in France and other places, and have laws against their activities. There is great potential for abuse of laws like this.

    Comment by Mr Dennis — October 1, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

  2. Thank you Mr Dennis.

    You said “Targeting gangs directly will never work, it will just make them stronger as internal disputes are ignored to fight the common enemy (the state).Groups thrive on persecution.”

    I think that the illegalisation of drugs makes dealing in them attractive to gangs, simply because it is an act of rebellion against the State that they blame for so much: a former gang member has stated that the members considered themselves to be oppressed and persecuted by the State, and the State is to blame for their gang membership because that is the only place that they could find solidarity. Yeah right.

    Comment by kiwipolemicist — October 1, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  3. […] 1) Hobbs refers to the “illegal” use of fireworks: if they’re being used illegally why don’t they just use the existing laws? In NZ there is a repeated pattern of introducing laws to cover something that is already illegal. […]

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  5. […] because another law covers this situation: there’s more about that and the wider issues in my earlier post. The penalty for breaking that other law is $4,000 or 6 months prison, yet the select committee […]

    Pingback by • Gang Insignia Bill takes a step forward, freedom takes a step back « Kiwi Polemicist — March 5, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

  6. […] • ACT Party tramples on freedom to get three strikes law Filed under: Justice/Police, Politics — Tags: act party, black power, civil liberties, civil rights, classical liberalism, crime, gang colors, gang colours, gang insignia bill, gang patch, gangs, head hunters, heather roy, highway 61, human rights, justice, mongrel mob, new zealand, nomad, Police, Politics, rodney hide, wanganui — kiwipolemicist @ 8:33 am The comments button is at the bottom right of this post. I have previously covered the Gang Insignia Bill here and here. […]

    Pingback by • ACT Party tramples on freedom to get three strikes law « Kiwi Polemicist — March 6, 2009 @ 8:33 am

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