Will Jarrod Gilbert resign if he is wrong?

Jarrod Gilbert has written a sanctimonious piece in the NZ Herald claiming that Judith Collins is wrong about gangs and that he and only he has the answers.

In an opinion piece in the Herald, Collins stated that one third of our prison population are “active gang members”. Given her own data say there are 4000 gang members in New Zealand and the country’s prison muster is over 9000 that would mean there are just 1000 gang members out of jail. Utter nonsense. It’s not even remotely close to being true. In fact, I will resign from the University of Canterbury if she is correct.

And let’s not get started on her claim that the gangs are grouping together in a strategy to sell methamphetamine to rich school kids; a better example of dog whistle politics you’d be hard pressed to find. As such, Collins joins the long cast of politicians who use the gangs for political advantage. The gangs exist in marginalised communities and the vast majority of New Zealanders reading this will have absolutely nothing to do with them – probably not even see them – and because of this they are perfect folk devils. It’s baffling really, given there are enough very real problems and concerns surrounding the gangs, ramping up the issue is unnecessary.  

Recently I wrote an encouraging view of this Government’s shift to evidence-led social policy development but good outcomes will only be realised if the approach isn’t ineptly or cynically managed. Gang formation and development are complex phenomena and unless this is understood, the gangs will invariably endure Collins too.

It has been revealed that Collins likes a “double rule” approach to politics, meaning anyone who criticises her gets double the criticism back. Given this, she may seek to attack me for pointing out these deficiencies but I suggest something different. I teach a course on gangs; meaning I have 140 undergraduate students who are better informed about the topic than the people charged with seeking political solutions.

So please accept this as an invitation to come and see me, Judith. After that meeting you will still be able to stand up in Parliament and say the gangs are bad, but you will know how and why; and knowing those things are good starting points. I’ll put the kettle on.

It is rather strident and sanctimonious of Jarrod Gilbert, but what if he is wrong?

After claiming that he is the the one with answers will he resign if it turns out he doesn’t actually have the answers at all?

Instead of hectoring and lecturing and not actually sharing with us his solutions he has used his column to grandstand and posture. Well, grandstanding and posturing is only well and good if you actually do have the solutions…if he doesn’t he should resign his column, his position and quietly go back to cuddling gangs which is his usual speciality.

I suspect that Jarrod Gilbert might get a clip around the ears in short order.


– NZ Herald


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  • Gazza

    As an ex-NZ Police Detective and having worked at the coalface with one of NZ’s most notorious gangs I can say that Gilbert is wrong, so very wrong. You only have to watch the news to see various gangs associating with each other, at funerals for example. The whole gang culture is about illegal business activities pure and simple. There used to be a rule that gangs would not wear their patch in another gangs area, that has not been the case for a long time since alliances have been made. Gangs are not just in marginalised areas, they are everywhere and they are not shy to fly their colours, they can be seen everywhere. Start typing that resignation letter Mr Gilbert…and put your money where your mouth is.

    • Damon Mudgway

      Don’t ya just love how Mr Gilbert thinks he knows best cause he lectures on the subject. Like you Gazza, as an ex plod my view is waaaay different than his. The gangs most certainly are cooperating in selling hard core drugs to those with the means to fund them. It’s simply good business. And while the police carry on with limited resources to curtail the gangs reach into the fabric of society, Mr Gilbert can safely lecture about how he knows better.

      • Yet another academic who needs to spend some time in the real world.

      • Gazza

        I hear ya DM…..

    • Forrest Ranger

      I love it when people who actually know what they are talking about post on this blog. Nice one Gazza.

  • Odd Ball

    I had to google Jarrod to find out who he was. Turns out he’s a sociologist who lectures a university, which explains it all really.
    You only have to read his last two paragraphs, which reeks of the arrogance so typically found with some University types.

    • Orange

      True. No humility makes for a very poor teacher.

  • Orange

    “Given her own data say there are 4000 gang members in New Zealand and the country’s prison muster is over 9000 that would mean there are just 1000 gang members out of jail.” Can someone explain what he is trying to say here? Is there a missing number of 3000 or 1/3rd the prison population statistic that he is not including in his sentence?

    • Dog Breath

      9000 total on jail 1/3rd = 3000 are gang members in jail. There are 4000 gang members in NZ so there are 1000 gang members not in jail (4000-3000=1000)
      I had to read it twice to get the meaning.

      • Orange

        Ok there is something very wacky about his use of the English language. “Given her own data say there are 4000 gang members in New Zealand…” He needs either a comma or a plural s in there to make sense. The article he is referencing does not mention 4000 or mention how it is defined. The numbers of prisoners associated with gangs has been rising and seems to be well documented http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/national-news/8773381/LA-style-gangs-fuel-problems-in-prisons But this article seems to be almost an exact copy of his one from 2014 where he talked about eating carrots http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11304251 I’m not too sure where he is getting the number 4000 from but Ross Kemp’s 2007 book talks about 4000 *patched* members which is clearly something different from gang associations of prisoners.

  • Hesaidwhat?

    Based on what happens in our town Collins would be right. The majority of our active patched gang population are usually inside and when they do get out it never seems to be for long. If you were counting gang associates and the wannabe gangster kids the numbers may be different. She is also right about targeting of rich kids. Is active ploy by organised criminals and been happening for years. You will find a surprisingly high % of girls from “wealthier schools” end up in prostitution when compared to poorer schools as a result.

    Pre formatted it for you Gilbert
    I Jarrod Gilbert do hereby tender my resignation
    …………… Sign Here

  • lyall

    Gangs exist to make it safer for anti-social people to do anti-social things such as assault, burglary, rape – the gang status provides protection to members from the ramifications of their actions by vigilante victims and victims families.
    Gang status also makes it a lot easier to fence items and sell drugs without being ripped off.
    Everything else is just emotive rubbish fed to university students for some strange reason! if they really want to know about gangs go and join one, its not that hard to get in as they let just about anybody have a try out! WARNING you need to be comfortable around violence! Also most gangs in NZ dont have a ‘blood out’ clause so after the enlightening experience of immersing oneself in gang culture you can gracefully retire and teach a course about it at one of our prestigious Universities!

  • Ross

    He sounds like one of those blokes who will try and explain graffiti as a method of expression, and not outright vandalism.

  • WBC

    Oh dear. I wonder if his 140 brainwash candidates are as ill informed as Hager’s Creative story telling students.

    Let’s make it very simply, in a way that even an academic might be able to associate with the world outside his lecture theater. ALL gang members are criminals. NOTHING that any gang does is positive for the community. ALL gang members should be treated as such. It is not discrimination to profile based on gang affiliation, it is common sense and good practice.

    Anyway, the resignation form is probably held by you HR department so you may as well pop past there on your way to you office today.