7 Oct 2021

Covid-19: Mongrel Mob Waikato spokesperson not happy with gang portrayal

From Morning Report, 7:40 am on 7 October 2021

A spokesperson for the Waikato Mongrel Mob isn’t happy with the way gangs are being portrayed as Covid-19 spreads through the community.

Yesterday, the Covid-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, said during a briefing that gang members make up a number of the latest Covid-19 cluster.

Louise Hutchison told the Morning Report that reports of Covid-19 in the gang community are politically motivated, and it was no help when trying to fight the virus in the community.

"I think what New Zealanders have to stop doing is demonising gangs in the midst of a pandemic, it is extremely dangerous.

"From the Prime Minister, she says that we're a team of 5 million, it's clear after yesterday we are not a team of 5 million and there's New Zealanders that are being demonised. And it is extremely dangerous, this narrative that has been played out, and it needs to stop."

She said some cases among a Pasifika chapter have now been resolved and denies allegations the virus has been spread across the Auckland border by members of the Waikato Mongrel Mob dealing illegal drugs.

She also claimed a survey of the Waikato Mongrel Mob members had found no Covid-19.

Hutchison said leadership had been working on communicating about vaccination with members and there were high hopes for an upcoming event.

"We do have an event coming up on the 16th of October with Dr Rawiri Jansen who we've have been working with and Collin Tukuitonga, associate professor from Auckland University who we have been working with during our cluster in South Auckland to, hopefully we get to do this face to face with our members, but to debunk all the misinformation on social media.

"We do have members that are vaccinated, our members in South Auckland who've taken up the vaccination. So, this is a huge part of the work that we've been doing."