Police Minister Poto Williams rejects ACT MP Nicole McKee's accusation she misled Parliament

Police Minister Poto Williams has rejected an accusation she misled Parliament by saying she had no responsibility for Greens co-leader Marama Davidson's visit to a gang pad. 

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson came under fire earlier this month for visiting the Mongrel Mob gang pad in the Waikato, which ACT MP Nicole McKee described as a "kick in the guts" for victims of gang violence. 

Williams was asked a few days later in Parliament if the visit was appropriate. Kris Faafoi, speaking on behalf of Williams, said she had no responsibility for MPs visiting gang pads on behalf of their political party.

McKee says Williams has misled Parliament, because the visit was recorded in Davidson's ministerial diary, where only official ministerial engagements are recorded, meaning she wasn't there in her capacity as a Green MP. 

"The Police Minister has misled Parliament and must correct the parliamentary record."

But Williams' office told Newshub she will not correct the record, because in Parliament she was specifically asked if it was "helpful for Members of Parliament" to attend events held at gang pads. 

"Nicole McKee asked about whether she supports Members of Parliament visiting gang pads. The minister clearly stated that she was not responsible for Members of Parliament who may or may not have visited gang pads. Therefore there is nothing to correct.

"The minister won't be correcting the record."

ACT MP Nicole McKee.
ACT MP Nicole McKee. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

Davidson's ministerial diary record shows that not only did she speak at the Mongrel Mob pad on May 1, but she also met with them on April 22 in her capacity as Family and Sexual Violence Prevention Minister and Minister for Homelessness. 

"The Minister for Homelessness has met with the Mongrel Mob more times than she has taken a paper to Cabinet as Minister for Homelessness," National MP Simeon Brown wrote on Twitter. 

The Waikato Mongrel Mob has launched a petition calling for Brown to be stripped of his portfolios, accusing him of inciting racial division. It comes after Brown revealed he'd allegedly received more threats from the Mongrel Mob after criticising them on Twitter.  

Davidson defended her visit to the Mongrel Mob earlier this month, saying it's "vital" that a "range of communities" are engaged with. 

"It's really important that I engage with whānau-led solutions and that includes all whānau. For some years now I've been engaging with the women who are affiliated with gangs and their desires to see healthy, violence-free lives for them, their mokopuna and their whole whānau," she told reporters. 

"It's vital that we talk to a range of communities." 

Police Minister Poto Williams.
Police Minister Poto Williams. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

The Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom's public relations representative Lou Hutchinson defended Davidson's appearance at the gang pad earlier this month, telling Newstalk ZB other ministers have visited "under the radar". 

"We are an organisation that's working bloody hard in the community to turn around the wrongs of the past."

Despite Labour holding a majority in Parliament, the Green Party co-leader holds two ministerial portfolios after Labour and the Greens struck a post-election agreement. 

Thanks to her ministerial position, Davidson secured funding of $131.9 million over four years in last week's Budget to invest in a range of initiatives to help communities prevent family and sexual violence.

Williams earlier this month announced a ban on high-risk convicted Kiwis owning firearms and enabling the seizure of assets obtained through illicit means, which is seen as a crackdown on gang crime.