The vast majority of us during Level 4 were locked down as non-essential workers.
You probably assumed like me that essential workers were doctors, nurses, supermarket workers etc.
Fatu is a convicted killer who helped torture and kill a man.
So how did he get given essential worker status by the Police?
It seems it was granted by Police Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha after a hui with gang leaders.
But it doesn’t end there. During Level 4 Police got called by neigbours of a gang hq as there were a couple of dozen people there, obviously breaching the lockdown notice. But when Police turned up the gang told them that the work they were doing was signed off by Police National HQ, so of course they were left to it.
So nice of Police HQ to make it easy for gangs to continue their essential work during Level 4.
UPDATE: Police HQ have informed me that they regard my story as wrong as the Police did not grant Sonny Fatu essential worker status.
However they do not deny that he has been granted essential worker status. The question is whether the Police Deputy Commissioner was involved in arranging or facilitating it via another organisation such as an Iwi health agency.
I will include the formal response from Police HQ when I receive it.
So the situation as it stands is that it appears uncontested Sonny Fatu was granted essential worker status. He was not granted it by the Police. We do not know which agency granted it, and we do not know what consultation or facilitation occurred with the Deputy Commissioner with the agency that granted it (if any). OIA responses are being sought.
UPDATE2: The official Police statement is:
Sonny Fatu was not granted Essential Worker status by Police.
Police have no responsibility for granting essential work status to individuals working for any other essential services.
Police is one of a number of government agencies working with Iwi-based providers to ensure vulnerable communities and families could be supported though the Alert Level 4 lockdown, with access to food, health and social services.
In my views gangs create vulnerable communities, rather than assist them.
What we are seeing is a deliberate strategy by some gangs to look legit by infiltrating health and welfare groups. If you spend 5% of your income from drug dealing on social services, then you gain legitimacy. And they hope people ignore the misery caused by them in the first place.