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What should voters make of organised crime’s endorsements of Labour? 

In brief
  • The consultancy Hard2Reach (H2R) has received millions of dollars in taxpayer funding under Labour, working to help with gang problems. 
  • Harry Tam of H2R, an honorary Mongrel Mob member, actively supports a Labour/Green coalition. 
  • Labour says an appearance by an MP at a Mob hui was accidental. National doesn’t think so.
  • What should voters think of NZ’s largest gang campaigning for Labour and the Greens? 

Mongrel Mob spokesperson Harry Tam and Hard2Reach 

Harry Tam is an honorary lifetime member of the Mongrel Mob, NZ’s largest gang. Tam’s affiliated consultancy, Hard2Reach (H2R), has received millions of dollars in taxpayer funding under Labour. 

The funding includes hundreds of thousands of dollars, since 2017, to produce Section 27 cultural reports.

Also, H2R’s Kahakura drug rehabilitation pilot programme, led by the Chaindogs chapter of the Mob, secured nearly three million dollars out of the Proceeds of Crime fund for 2021 to 2024. 

H2R’s own reports indicate three quarters of attendees to the live-in mārae, based in Waipawa, relapsed afterwards. One graduate made headlines after ferociously beating a man while high on methamphetamine. 

Another high profile Mongrel Mob member, playing the anti-drug crusader card, was recently convicted of trafficking methamphetamine. 

What should voters make of organised crime’s endorsements of Labour?  - Centrist
MP Ingrid Leary

Labour defends their support of H2R and Tam

Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern herself signed off and defended the funding for Kahakura.

Minister Andrew Little has called Tam a “former” gang member, but Tam’s appearance in gang regalia (which may include the use of the swastika) has prompted National to question this claim. 

Tam himself has a domestic violence conviction and in 2020 quietly resigned from the Royal Commission into historic abuse in care under a cloud. 

Tam has also been filmed saying “Seig Heil” at a Mob meeting about voting against National and has routinely campaigned against them.  

The Police Union previously questioned using proceeds of crime to fund a gang related enterprise and likened it to a money laundering scheme.  

The Auditor-general, along with Labour, brushed off these concerns. 

Tam and the Mob support Labour and the Greens

This year, Tam supports Labour for the electorate seat and the Greens for the party vote. 

National says Taieri MP Ingrid Leary’s appearance at a Mongrel Mob sponsored election hui (meeting) in Dunedin was the pay-off from funding Kahakura. Leary says it was a mixup. 

Leary appears not to have noticed the obvious colour scheme differences between the Mob’s use of red and black versus the Electoral Commission’s distinct orange colouring. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins accepted Leary’s explanation.

Tam said the hui was meant to get out the vote. He posted on social media that the Mob are “mobilising our people to get off the Māori roll and go onto the general roll so we can vote in those marginal seats.”

Reported tensions in Ōpōtiki after murder of Mob president

A recent funeral in Ōpōtiki for Mob president Steven Taiatini, which brought hundreds of Mongrel Mob members to town, has prompted renewed calls by National for tougher policies. There were also reports of shots fired. 

National’s Simeon Brown says he’s received death threats after criticising the Mob’s takeover of roads for past funeral processions. 

National says gang membership has reached an all time high; up 66 percent since Labour came to power in 2017. 

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