BAD BOY TOYS & TOY BOY LAWS
Police plan to revoke the firearms licences of gang members to test new powers given to them under recent changes to the country’s gun laws. Under the tweak to the Arms Act which came into force just before Christmas, the police can consider whether someone is a member of, or affiliated to, a gang or organised criminal group when determining whether they are a “fit and proper” person to hold a firearms licence. I have a problem with this one is it right to apply a law to some one just because of the organisation they choose to belong too.
No and I suspect the Bill of Rights might agree.
On the other hand when you belong to an organisation which has daggers pistols snarling bulldogs, axes skull and bones with mottos such “as were the ones your parents warned you of” or say “expect no mercy” that glamorise violence and thuggery then perhaps it is fair indication your mature enough for this kind of tool.
However it is equally a reality that any form of prohibition ultimately creates demand and the demand for weapons in gangs is driven by two factors;
1. The emergence of the 501 Australian gangs who have a culture of guns (despite years of harsh Australian gun laws – which again seem to only drive the black market demand) has driven violent crimes. Since 2015, Australia has sent back over 2000 people and more than half have committed offences since being back in New Zealand. In total, they’ve now committed 9000 offences including home invasions, assaults, and child sex crimes, it has left more than 350 people with firearms injuries across Auckland in five years
2. The fact that drugs continue to be treated as a policing issue and not a social issue and are outlaw again driving prohibition drug trade just like alcohols did before in the 1920’s
Im not fan of gangs or any of the macho shit which come with it and admit a personal bias from having seem to many female friends get fucked over to buy the were jus a bunch of good old boys crap.
Yet ultimately lets face it how many of the weapons used by gangs in the past decade in crime have being licensed so this bit of legislation a bit of a turd really. At best such a law might discourage some forms of gun hoarding but in reality ‘stashing’ the shooters will just become one more of the bitch job that get contracted out to prospects if gangs feel the need to (and they well) tool up. For example of the 71 weapons found in Head Hunters possession in 2015 none were legally registered and all had being brought from Gun City, a legal business s now linked three mass shootings, by a non gang member who however had a Australian criminal record for violence. But as he no NZ record in NZ gangs (including Killer Bees & Cobras) used him to source weapons.
Gang gun violence wont vanish until
A) The drug trade is decriminalised
B) Lower socio communities have better job options.
C) The cheaper shittier weapons are dumped by gun stores and exiting gun laws are enforced – which as March 15th showed us is clearly not happening.
LIVING IN A GANSTA PARADISE
Meanwhile meth consumption increases even during lockdown.
A fact which suggest claims of a drops in use in official New Zealand police figures was more due to reduced efforts by police due to Covid impact on police budgets than actual reduction.
This is despite few boats and people being allowed into our ports at any one time due to Covid meaning in theory Customs had a better chance to find illicit narcotic. The Gisbourne Herald reported the use of methamphetamine “skyrocketed” in Gisborne during the Covid-19 lockdown. Hauora Tairawhiti mental health and addictions head of department Dr Sue Mackersey told the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) evidence of meth levels found in Gisborne’s untreated sewage supported their view meth consumption escalated drastically during lockdown.
A view also backed up by national court statistic which back up the idea meth supply was not hampered by Covid.
Annual Ministry of Justice figures show methamphetamine remains the biggest drug taking up time in the courts – with 8182 charges laid in the last financial year. Cannabis charges in contrast since a policy of semi tolerance (soft decriminalisation) emerged has decreased 63 percent since 2010. A UN report also bust the myth meth user shrank during lock down “The production of methamphetamine, the most popular drug in the region, continues to hit record highs while prices fall (as drug cause gluts – editors note) to new lows in East and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report that compiled data from 2019 to first quarter of 2020. “It is hard to imagine that organised crime have again managed to expand the drug market, but they have. While the world has shifted its attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, all indications are that production and trafficking of synthetic drugs and chemicals continue at record levels in the region.” , Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific told Reuters.
So what Is the cost of Meth have we become to use to it?
Are we continuing to ignore that the cost of the drug, every bit as damaging to New Zealand as Covid. As the geopolitics of US Chinese rivalry means Aotearoa’s role as a Gangsta Paradise will only get worse as meth is related to the asymmetrical nature of economic warfare which lies at the base rock of Super Power competition. It means as the USA deploy hard assets to the Pacific region (part of America’s anti Chinese Pacific reset policy) to enforce its claim on the region China will look for ways to undermine legitimate economies as means to counter influence. Organised crime and narcotics impact upon social and economic infrastructure well be among the tools deployed to achive this objective.
SUICDE IS NOT PAINLESS (OR WITHOUT A COST)
A new NDARC (National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre -Australia) study found that deaths related to methamphetamine doubled in seven years between 2009 and 2015. The death toll for methamphetamines has doubled in Australia between 2009 and 2015, according to new research revealing a staggering rate of deaths by heart disease and violent suicides among users. Overdose accounted for 43 per cent of methamphetamine-related deaths, found the analysis of 1649 deaths from the national Coronial Information System (NCIS).
There appears in New Zealand which as general rules trends to replicate Australian trends, little work regarding correlation of those killed by users of meth while under the influence (whether with intention or via an accident), its impact on the GDP/Mortlity index (as gdp falls a 1% studies show it reduce average mortality by 1% %).
This is in contrast to research done in relation to death attributable to other drugs alcohol, opiates, and tobacco (8000+) and cannabis (2) consumed in New Zealand.
Yet direct deaths (over doses) are known to have tripled with seven recorded in 2015 to 21 in 2018. The spike coincides with cheaper ‘P”, which is also more available to users, particularly in Auckland, Wellington and Waikato.
The Royal Australian New Zealand School of Psychiatry study ‘Recognising and addressing the harmful mental health impacts of methamphetamine use’ states the rates of death in people using methamphetamine doubled in Australia between 2009 and 2015, and death rates from suicide are substantially higher in the New Zealand population, with estimates that suicide comprised 18% of all methamphetamine deaths for both nations. That a range of “other salient physical health harms” include cardiovascular risks, increased risk of stroke, and the risk of potential nerve related disease. It does not address the issue of death in non users triggered by action of user (such as contaminating houses, car accidents, assaults and murders). In 2019 their were 685 suicides in New Zealand (The suicide rate in New Zealand is 13.01 deaths per 100,000 people), meaning around 125 of those can be linked to meth use in this nation. The economic cost of each suicide is put at $448,250, and the non-economic cost at $2,483,000 meaning meth suicides alone cost the nation more than 3 billion dollars or 1.5% of the nations GDP. Covid 19 by comparison cost between 15-30 billion based on GDP down turn and Reserve bank estimations
Further the estimated bill from suicide (based on the Royal Australian New Zealand School of Psychiatry findings) are worry for they demonstrate just how far off base the national New Zealand Drug Harm Index index is which found amphetamine-type drugs, including meth, cost $364.2m in social harm during the 2015 financial year. That the personal impact – effect on physical health, psychological well being and personal wealth – cost a total of $256.4m. While the cost to the public incurred by crime, injury to others and loss of taxes – was calculated to be $91.4m and the cost of intervention for amphetamine users – healthcare, education and law enforcement – cost the country $16.4m during the 2015 financial year, the Drug Harm Index found. Those figures are based on seizure which represent officially 1/3 of all meth (or precursors) thought to enter New Zealand but which official states is probably only 10% of the true figure.
A ministerial committee on drug policy (research was carried out by BERL and peer reviewed by experts from three universities) concluded at the start of the second wave of meth that, “the harm from drugs consumed in 2006 is substantial and that illicit drug seizures may have prevented approximately another third again of harm.” Presenting a $1.3 billon a year as the social costs of illicit drug use “nearly one per cent of New Zealand’s GDP” including the cost from drug-attributable health care and road smashes.
That study extends to all forms of illicit drugs. Yet again is an estimate based only on seized amounts and is believed to be exceptionally and over whelming conservative. Again the level of estimated suicide would seem to endorse that ‘off the record’ belief that the statistic represent just the tip of the known iceberg. A loose calculation is that including suicides Meth is costing NZ around ten – fifteen billion (the cost of the Christchurch earthquake) each year and is a social cost on par with Covid but lacking the same interest demonstrated by academics, politicians and pharmaceutical lobbyist keen to ride the Covid investment opportunity train.
.0003% of Kiwi have had a brush with Covid almost a third of middle-aged New Zealanders have tried methamphetamine at least once, according to the University of Otago. The study also found those who used methamphetamine at least weekly were between two and five times more likely to be involved in violence, whether it be as a victim or as the perpetrator, than those who had not used it at all. People who had used the drug once or twice were more than 60 per cent more likely to be involved in violence during the same time period they were using the drug, compared with non-users. The study was recently published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal. Twenty-eight per cent of participants reported using methamphetamine at least once between the ages of 18 and 35 Professor Boden says.
Restricting the Gangs from legally having Guns will have as much impact as the war on drugs had in curbing drug usage.
Until we recognise that trusim the social cost of this drug, every bit a crisis as Covid, well mount up and little will change regardless how many laws are passed that have at their core the desire to create compliance with the status quo (doomed to simply create a world of haves and have nots) as opposing to affecting actual change for the better across the wider society for all. They must be responses that achieve much more than just being seen to do something. The root problem be it guns, covid or meth use, appears legislative bodies focused on creating laws that ‘seem to do good’ and fit preconceived public prejudices and appetites of expectation as opposed to implementing policies that address the root cause and don’t just deal with the symptoms of the plague in question.