Flood victims furious with Hipkins

Newsroom reports:

Some residents in Hawkes Bay are furious at the attitude of Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in an interview on RNZ’s Morning Report today in which he said an incident involving firearms was unsubstantiated and insinuated the report was without basis.

In an extensive recorded interview with Newsroom on Sunday, Ryan Lawson, whose company East Coast Traffic is contracted to set up the necessary traffic management in the region, provided a detailed account of an incident on Pakowhai Road between Napier and Hastings in which firearms were used to threaten his staff.

“Two of my staff members were encountered with firearms being directly pointed at them while they were sending out temporary traffic management. Honestly for us it was a very, very scary moment and that crew just had to up and leave.”

Like many people here, Lawson and his staff don’t want the attention and are just getting on with the job. Lawson didn’t want to comment further, but plenty of other locals were angry and upset at the comments Hipkins made downplaying the extent of the issues they’re facing. …

The PM said on RNZ that many of the things being reported as facts in fact “aren’t facts.” And in the same breath used the story about traffic workers being threatened by firearms as an example.

“There’s been no substantiation to the allegations that people on checkpoints had had guns pulled on them. If anyone wants to report that that happened they should do so to the police,” said Hipkins.

“All police have got at the moment are third hand accounts that they haven’t been able to substantiate.”

The interviewer said: “So you’re saying that particular incident that was raised of someone pulling a gun on someone at a checkpoint didn’t happen – is that the one you’re referring to?

Hipkins: “So the feedback I had, as of this morning, is that the police have not been able to substantiate that.”

But locals in Hawkes Bay spoken to by Newsroom felt the PM was out of touch and didn’t understand what it’s like on the ground.

“Not everyone reports everything because the police are busy, and so is Civil Defence. It shows the force isn’t actually coping with the amount of crime that’s happening in the Bay,” said one Awatoto resident who lost everything in the flooding.

“There’s been people everywhere you go, making the most of the situation, stealing stuff.”

Checkpoints have been put up by locals at multiple spots, including tractors at Whirinaki up the coast and tree stumps blocking the entry to Waiohiki, which lost the bridge that connects it to Taradale.

In rural Puketapu, which resembles an apocalyptic war zone, residents are putting trucks across the road to keep looters and other opportunists out.

“Seventeen cars turned around about two or three hundred metres away and sped off on the first night we set up the roadblock,” said one couple, who had their fridge and washing machine – both of which they were hoping to salvage – taken early on. A neighbour had to board up their garage when they went off to work for the day, so thieves couldn’t see what they had inside.

So basically the PM is gaslighting the locals in Hawkes Bay, and telling them there is no gun use, no crime, no looting etc.I guess the locals are just setting up roadblocks because they are bored and have nothing else to do – is that the view of the Government?

Comments (99)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment