Mongrel Mob funeral: David Seymour compares Ōpōtiki to war-torn Somali capital Mogadishu

David Seymour has compared the Bay of Plenty town of Ōpōtiki to Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

The ACT Party leader made the comments on Friday while lashing out at Labour's Stuart Nash, Michael Wood and Jan Tinetti following a string of ministerial mishaps.  

Nash was sacked from Cabinet in March after sending an email to two donors containing confidential information. A report into how he interacted with donors was released on Friday, clearing him of any further "dodgy" communications. 

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said while the report concluded Nash also made an appointment involving one of his friends and supporters, "this is at the lower end of transgressions and, in fairness to Stuart, he did take actions to manage the conflict".

"It's a helpful reminder of the importance of ministers making sure their conflicts are fully managed," Hipkins said.

"Stuart Nash has already paid the ultimate price for his actions by being removed as a minister. He is also retiring from politics at the upcoming election."

Following the release of the report, Seymour lashed out at Hipkins and the Government - pointing out several ministers had now overstepped the mark.

"Stuart Nash, Michael Wood and Jan Tinetti have all shown they can't… run ministerial office let alone oversee significant portfolios impacting millions of New Zealanders," Seymour said in a statement.

"It's no wonder the economy is in recession, wages are going backwards, places like Ōpōtiki resemble Mogadishu, and the health and education sectors are in crisis."

Somalia, of which Mogadishu is the capital, has been gripped by civil war for decades and, since 2006, Islamist al Shabaab militants have been fighting to topple its Western-backed government and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Late last week, al Shabaab claimed an attack on a restaurant in Mogadishu - during which nine people were killed.

Seymour's Ōpōtiki reference relates to hundreds of patched Mongrel Mob members flooding the small Bay of Plenty town earlier this week for the funeral of a local gang leader. Seymour has been fiercely critical of the situation in Ōpōtiki, where schools and roads were closed as red cars and motorbikes convoyed through the town to Whakatāne for the tangi of Steven Rota Taiatini.

"We share the anger of the people of Ōpōtiki being terrorised by the subhuman actions of weak individuals unable to solve their problems like civilised members of society," Seymour said earlier this week. "Labour should be ashamed that they have allowed things to get this bad under their watch." 

David Seymour.
David Seymour. Photo credit: Newshub.

Meanwhile, Hipkins has defended Labour's record on cracking down against gangs.

"We want to make sure that police have the powers and have the tools that they need in order to crack down on gang crime where they need to do that," he said on Thursday.

"The fact that they're using for the first time new laws that we have just put in place shows that we've made some good decisions there about increasing the tools available to them."

But National's Christopher Luxon doesn't agree with Hipkins and said his party would "not accept" situations such as the one in Ōpōtiki under a Nats-led Government.

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi, meanwhile, said while local iwi did "their best to de-escalate the situation" in Ōpōtiki, Luxon and Hipkins needed "to shut their mouths and stop using our iwi as a political football to score points".

"Keep my iwi out of your mouth."

Waititi said the priority was allowing iwi to carry on with their community work in Ōpōtiki, "not political point scoring".