Koha payment to Mongrel Mob: Barry Soper – does Willie Jackson believe he is above scrutiny?

OPINION:

One lives in hope that former radio talkback shock jock Willie Jackson would have matured since his elevation to Cabinet.

Remember when he and his fellow MediaWorks radio host, former Labour Cabinet minister John Tamihere, landed themselves in hot water at the height of the despicable Roast Busters sex scandal when they interviewed a friend of one of the teenage victims?

The hosts talked about teenage drinking and why the girls were at parties without their parents’ consent. “Girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?” their caller going by the name of Amy was asked. “How free and easy are you kids these days?”

Jackson later apologised for the tenor of the interview.

Today he should be apologising again for seething at a simple, legitimate question he was asked in his capacity as Māori Development Minister on his way into Parliament’s debating chamber about koha.

Did he give a koha, a monetary donation, to the Mongrel Mob when he went to their hui last May? The Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt’s rightly earned the scorn of opposition political parties for giving the mob $200 at the same hui.

Rather than answering the question Jackson turned on the journalist accusing him of being stupid.

“That’s a stupid question,” Jackson seethed.

“I’m tired of those stupid types of questions, what we’re talking about is carrying tikanga [etiquette] here, if you go anywhere, you give koha.”

So it’s fair to say, it seems he did make a donation but is Jackson now above scrutiny?

Judging by his behaviour when being asked about it, that would seem to be the case.

It appears in his new role away from the airwaves he’s generous with the taxpayers’ piggy bank.

Justifying koha, after again refusing to answer another “stupid” question he talked about Māori Ministers visiting Christchurch prison “full of criminals, were there gangs there; there were Mongrel Mob, Black Power, youth gangs; did we give a koha, absolutely, because that’s our tikanga, we were invited there.”

Jackson then went on to somehow rationalise it by saying it’s not about giving donations to the Mongrel Mob – they’d be the last gang he’d give money to, he insists.

He wouldn’t give donations to any gangs, but he was unapologetic for carrying his tikanga with him at all times.

Then a young Māori journalist tried to ask Jackson about upholding tikanga for people who “harm our own people, pump meth, and bed the women”.

Jackson interrupted her again, hissing: “You’re sounding as silly as some of the questions coming our way”, before hitting the dump button.

That’s power for you.

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