Press "Enter" to skip to content

Covid-19: Mob boss’ exemption to manage ‘zero trust’ in health officials

Published in 1%er News

Waikato Mongrel Mob leader, Sonny Fatupaito, was granted an exemption to cross the Covid-19 border into Auckland.
Christel Yardley/StuffWaikato Mongrel Mob leader, Sonny Fatupaito, was granted an exemption to cross the Covid-19 border into Auckland.

A Mongrel Mob boss was given an exemption to cross the Auckland border for “no other reason” than to push his people to get tested and vaccinated, a gang spokesperson says.

Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom head Sonny Fatupaito​, was given the exemption for ‘essential work’ with health officials trying to get in touch with gangsters following cases found in at least three gangs.

The effort started with a cluster at the Assembly of God Church in Manukau which then extended to a Mongrel Mob Kingdom Chapter based in Auckland.

Kingdom liaison, Louise Hutchinson​, told Stuff, the exemption was “only for the weekend” and was required due to the communities “zero trust for any government agency”.

Stuff was denied an interview with Fatupaito but in response to questions, Hutchinson maintained none of the chapter’s members had crossed the border or moved goods or people across illegally.

None of the nine Waikato positive cases were Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom members, Hutchinson said.

“[Sonny] was there to make sure they all get tested and to see if they had Covid-19. Now his work is about getting our people vaccinated. That’s all it is,” Hutchinson said.

Talk that Fatupaito had another agenda such as bringing illicit drugs over the border is an “insult” to the work he did to protect whānau, she said.

“People can put any spin on it… but at the end of the day is about life and death of our people.

Hutchinson denied that there was a lack of co-operation from Mongrel Mob members with health authorities that required immediate intervention, but said Fatupaito’s presence in person was required because “they don’t trust authority, they don’t trust police”.

“He’s the person that people respect…and when you’re working with the most disenfranchised people in the country who have zero trust for any government department, who do you think they are going to listen to a public official or the leader of the Mongrel Mob Kingdom?” Hutchinson said.

This exemption comes two weeks ago after Stuff revealed at least three gangs had Covid-19 cases in their ranks.

An Auckland Hells Angels prospect had tested positive for the virus and is now inside Jet Park quarantine facility.

A patched Black Power member earlier caught Covid-19 during his brief stint on bail before his recall to Mt Eden prison. It was understood multiple Mongrel Mob members across at least two chapters had also tested positive.

Speaking at Wednesday’s 1pm briefing, Covid-19 response Minister Chris Hipkins​ said the exemption was granted to Fatupaito because the “number one priority is stopping Covid in its tracks”.

He said personally he has “no time for gangs and no sympathy”, but that the Government needs to do things differently.

“There have been a disproportionate number of people in certain communities that don’t trust the Government, so they have to take a different approach to encourage vaccinations,” Hipkins said.

From his knowledge only two gang leaders had been granted exemption to cross the Auckland border.

There were 39 positive community cases on Wednesday, 30 in Auckland and 9 in the Waikato.

Hipkins confirmed some of those cases were gang members, but couldn’t give the precise figures on how many were gang members.

Police commissioner Andrew Coster previously confirmed police had undertaken gang liaison work in support of public health officials.

However, Hutchinson told Stuff there has been no communication.

“The communication between us and police is pretty much zero.

“There is no gang strategy in New Zealand for Covid… so we will do whatever we need to do to ensure our people are safe.”

Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) and Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS).
STUFFNorthern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) and Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS).

On October 16, the gang, alongside indigenous health expert Dr Rawiri Jansen and associate professor Collin Tukuitonga, will hold an educational program about Covid-19.

Hutchinson said the event was already meant to have already happened, but was delayed due to the Waikato outbreak.

“The indigenous health experts are coming to share their experiences on the frontline, but also their wisdom around vaccinations and to dispel and debunk a lot of the content our people are heavily influenced by.

The event, at Hopuhopu in Ngāruawahia, would also include a pop-up vaccination site.

Attendees would be required to follow all Covid-19 guidelines, such as mask wearing and two-metre distancing.

Location: Australia
Writer: Sharnae Hope
Source: stuff