Where will Jacinda Ardern house her DPS team?

I was reading yet another magazine-style article pretending to be a political article about our PM. It was focussed on where our PM lives…

[…] an affluent and busy neighbourhood, within earshot of the gibbons at Auckland Zoo.

And also on the security team paid to protect her.

[…] The prime minister’s street is now one of the most secure streets in the country, kept under 24-hour surveillance by Diplomatic Protection Service (DPS) agents.

The article fluffed its way through the interviews with her neighbours who were happy as well as a bit put out about DPS agents being parked on their street.

“Their sole focus is obviously Jacinda’s house, but you do feel fairly safe with them around. It’s quite hard case watching her go for a walk. You’ve got two guys with her on foot and then the SUV follows her as well.”

He said the security detail was only there when Ardern was home. He was glad to make the most of the free parking spaces while the prime minister was at Waitangi for the weekend.

“It’s a busy street, and you lose three parking spots to her security detail. It’s a bit of a pain.

They use all the parks in the street,” another resident confirmed. “It gets a bit busy out there.”

But despite the parking issue, the local consensus was that the DPS agents were a reassuring presence.

As I read the article I  thought about the huge fuss the MSM constantly made about the expense of ex-PM John Key being followed around all the time by the DPS despite the fact that it is standard for all PMs no matter which party they are from.

National PMs are the ones most likely to get multiple death threats and the reality in New Zealand is that our PMs really don’t need more than one or two DPS agents because we are, currently, still a safe country. It is more of a status symbol than anything else, much like the bodyguards that Kim Dotcom surrounded himself with.

 

DPS members behind PM Helen Clark

I wondered which PMs in recent history cost the taxpayer the most for their DPS protection and then I came across this paragraph that enabled me to make an educated guess.

John Key’s DPS agents holed up in a camper van in the driveway of his Parnell mansion, before they were rumoured to move into a pool house on the property. Helen Clark’s agents rented a house beside her Mt Eden villa.

But there haven’t been any offers to buy up Ardern’s neighbouring properties: or at least, not yet.

Security analyst Paul Buchanan said the level of diplomatic protection for prime ministers varied case by case.

“After they’ve done a threat assessment – the potential for people trying to attack the PM on their property – then they decide whether or not the 24-hour protection needs to be based in or around the property,” Buchanan said. “And I imagine in the case of both Clark and Key, they decided it had to be.”

“With Ardern it’s still fairly early days,” he continued. “She’s not known to be so polemical as to stir the negative emotions that would cause people to want to do her harm in her own home. So for the time being, they’ll just rotate people in and out of the vicinity of her home.

“Should they get any indication that a more serious threat is materialising – and that tends to happen during the course of a prime minister’s career –  well, at that point the defensive perimeter around the PM has to be strengthened. And maybe at that point they’ll think about renting a place.” […]

If they do rent a place I wonder if the PM will impose rent controls on the landlord. I mean, what is the going market rate these days for providing accommodation for the PM’s DPS squad?

-Stuff


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