Coster and Foster Failed Us All

ronnies I will defend to my last breathe the right for New Zealanders to peacefully protest about issues they feel strongly about. But the mob camped on the lawn in Wellington have now gone too far. It’s bad enough that they have obstructed a public road, shut down a bus station and university campus and harassed innocent passers-by. Now the Police have allowed a vigilante “security” force to impede access of citizens to Parliament grounds, a public venue that belongs to all of us. It’s no joke that the Police, Wellington City Council and the two Andy’s have failed the people of New Zealand.

For a protest group ostensibly “protecting our freedoms”, this is beyond rational. But then there’s nothing rational at all about the melange of bizarre causes being promoted by these sheeple and their conspiracist puppet-masters. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with vaccine mandates and lockdowns, this is not the way to win hearts and minds. In fact it must only be a matter of time before an organised counter-protest arises, at which point we will indeed see the kind of direct conflict that was hoped to be avoided. No doubt the counter-protestors will be quickly arrested or dispersed, for their own safety of course.

If the disaffected filthy few wish to live like Orwellian farm animals together on the Parliament lawn to promote their cause, let them do so. However the moment that occupation spreads onto the surrounding streets and into peoples’ lives, it becomes domestic terrorism. The “freedom protesters” have ironically made it clear that they actually have no regard for the freedom of those outside of their own circle. Once the initial threat of a Capitol style storming receded, the Police strategy seems to have been to withdraw and allow the lunatics to take over the asylum. An entrenched mob will be very hard to remove at this point.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster and Mayor Andy Foster are complicit in this mess. Suspending the rule of law in the Molesworth Street precinct was an enormously foolish capitulation that has set back civic society immeasurably. Foster will be gone at this year’s local body election for sure, but Coster continues to enjoy the tacit support of the government, who wish not to be seen being involved in directing the response. But operational mismanagement of the situation has now led to a petition for Andrew Coster’s removal.

Appointed in March 2020, about the same time the pandemic began sweeping across the globe, it was clear from the outset that Coster’s tenure would be challenging. But his arrival signaled quite a shift in strategic direction for the New Zealand Police, with the much lauded “policing by consent” methodology being invoked. Armed patrol units were withdrawn from the streets of Auckland. Within months a young police officer and several civilians had been shot dead as Police lost control of the city to armed gangs. Softly, softly may have once been the motto of a fictional police television series, but that approach is clearly not working.

But the most concerning aspect of Coster’s appointment is that he represents the gentle, smiling face of a new generation of Cabinet appointed leadership within the public service. A leadership group that has become infiltrated by politically correct sycophants quietly “reforming” institutions, infrastructure and instruments of government without the permission of the electorate. Calls for his removal simply echo an increasing level of discomfort over the current direction of our public institutions. “Policing by consent” may be the flavour of the moment, but there’s nothing consensual about the direction our public service is heading in right now.

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