Auckland school responds to Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett's claim of infiltration by Head Hunters, drugs
A west Auckland school has denied a politician's claim that gang-related drugs are in its system.
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said she had witnessed, via police, "horrific", gang-related "stuff going on in our communities".
She said gangs' drugs were "partaking to our kids, in our schools" and it was happening in west Auckland with the Head Hunters.
"Bloody get your drugs out of Henderson High School if you actually want to make a difference in the society," Bennett said.
* National Party announces $82 million crackdown on methamphetamine use, supply
* National's proposed police powers buying into the doctrine of Donald Trump, lawyer says
* Bill English says everyone in NZ has human rights
Her comment at The Spinoff's Facebook live election debate on September 6 drew a sharp response from Henderson High School.
Its executive officer Gillian Hill said "that's not true", but couldn't comment further.
Bennett's statement came less than a week after the police minister said some New Zealanders – serious criminal members of gangs – had fewer human rights than others.
At the National Party's launch of a proposed $82 million crackdown on drugs and gangs on September 3, Bennett was asked whether she believed criminals had human rights.
"Some have fewer human rights than others when they are creating a string of victims behind them," Bennett said.
"There is a different standard."
Prime Minister Bill English later said his deputy got it wrong.
"It is clearly not the case that some New Zealanders have fewer human rights than others," he said.
At the recent debate Bennett admitted her comment was a mistake, and she had confused legal and human rights.
When asked if people have fewer rights than others, Bennett said "no, I don't think some people have fewer human rights than others".
She said gangs were identified as the "biggest criminal threat on our war on drugs".
Bennett also said she didn't disregard there were gangs in Porirua and Rotorua working to get drugs out of their communities.
She said the government would help the few gangs with rehabilitation.
"If they want that rehabilitation and assistance there, we're in," she said. "But I'm not going to get others that stand up and say 'get rid of P' in their families, but are selling – or pushing it actually – and being drug dealers on the side."
Further approaches to Henderson High School for comment went unanswered.