Waikato Mongrel Mob President mindful of National's gang plan

By Taroi Black

The President of the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom is puzzled over National Party Leader Simon Bridges  decision to decline an invitation to attend one of their community group events. This comes as the National Party plans to crack down on gangs in 2020.

President Sonny Fatupaito says, “I wasn't surprised but at least we offered him the pānui to come along anyway.”

The pānui invited the National Party leader to the Mana Whānau Event which aims to empower women in their community.

The Kingdom chapter is known in the Waikato Region for facilitating events that seek positive outcomes through initiatives like the ‘Harty Hauora programme’ funded by the Waikato DHB.   

But Bridges isn't phased, “My view is until the Mongrel Mob hand in their firearms and stop peddling methamphetamine I’m just not going to be meeting with them.”

Fatupaito told Te Ao Māori News his chapter aren't involved in any criminal activity but Bridges responded with, “talk is cheap”.   

This week the National Party announced their gang plan for 2020 and cracking down on issues arising with the increase of gang members and other criminal activity. 

“We got to be mindful about the Government in terms of the action plan they've got in place. We've always known that something like that has been going on in terms of the police intelligence and that being one of the reasons why we need to get our act together,” says Fatupaito.

The Waikato based Mongrel Mob Kingdom has over 400 members and more than 250 members have joined since 2017.

The possibility of forming a new chapter aimed at empowering women is on the cards now and both Dame Tariana Turia and Sir Pita Sharples have agreed to attend the event on the 9th of November.  

“This is all about our wāhine empowering the wāhine who are finding their place or their voice among the tāne, amongst the whānau.”

According to the National Party, the number of patched gang members has increased by 26 per cent.

New members have been introduced around the Bay of Plenty and Eastern districts with an increase of 200 members and in the Tasman district it has almost doubled.

Bridges says, “One view is that look there’s some bad but there’s also some good about whānau and community and the like. I’m sorry to say, while I accept that there are individual gang members who may do good, who may be good, responsible members of their whānau, overall I don’t buy that.”