There is a very nasty boil in New Zealand society and it must be lanced - quickly and thoroughly.
It is the gangs.
Now I didn't know this but apparently New Zealand has more patched gang members per head of population than any other nation.
There are about 4000 of them here belonging to various groups, the most well known being the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs.
Part of the appeal of gangs would be status, an ability to earn money through easier means than working hard, offering a sense of belonging and security.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />
Violence between the gangs happens but most of it is out of the gaze of Mr and Mrs Joe Public.
Personally, I couldn't care less if two gangs beat themselves to death.
As long as their battles don't affect the general community, then the more damage they do to each other the better.
Unfortunately, the battles between the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs have become more public and ordinary people are being attacked because of it. Much of it has to do with gang-related colours.
Mongrel Mob supporters wear red and black, while Black Power associates wear blue and black.
The problems begin if you inadvertently go into a gang's "territory" and happen to be wearing the colour of their opponents - such as happened recently in Napier.
A young Maori guy, not associated with gangs in any way, was walking home when set upon by a group that objected to him wearing a red shirt. He was bashed and stabbed and that resulted in him lying in a critical condition in hospital.
In nearby Whakatane, we've had examples of public brawling between gangs and also the targeting of people inadvertently in gang colours. In that town red is a bad colour to put on because of the area's connections with Black Power. Even in daylight people have been abused, threatened and attacked.
In Wairoa in the past week, a 21-year-old woman was bailed up by a gang of nine young yobs - aged 12 to 16 - and robbed of cigarettes and money.
It was in broad daylight, in the main street of the northern Hawke's Bay town.
She was surrounded by the youths, dressed in red, on Marine Parade about 4.50pm.
And in Rotorua, a man ended up in hospital for a few days after buying a car at a police auction. He had been driving it around the city when a former owner recognised it and called in a few mates to deal with him, despite the fact they hadn't paid their fines and he legitimately bought it from the coppers.
Anyway, these guys were gang members and they beat the daylights out of him.
And of course, in Papamoa we had the bottle attack on a grandmum who was walking early one morning. No one could work out why anyone would throw a half-full beer bottle at an elderly person until you learn she was wearing a red shirt.
She suffered horrendous injuries through the mindlessness of some cretin who may have thought she was backing the Mongrel Mob.
Now just in case gang members are reading this column, please take this on board.
If I am wearing either a red or blue shirt, that does not mean I'm backing either the Mongrel Mob or Black Power, it just means I'm wearing either a red or blue shirt.
Gang leaders need to take control of their members and associates and issue orders that no member of the public is touched - even if they are wearing another gang's colours.
The public should be off limits at all times.
For if ordinary citizens are going to continue to be bashed and robbed, then there will be serious political pressure applied for a crackdown on all gangs and their activities. And that would be very bad for gang business.
GOOD grief, don't some companies really get it wrong when pandering to the squeaks of some minorities.
Libra, the makers of sanitary items for gals, are removing a controversial television ad for tampons after a storm of complaints.
The ad features a drag queen and a blonde woman in a bathroom, seemingly competing against each other.
They apply make-up and adjust their bras before the woman produces a tampon.
Defeated, the drag queen walks out.
Libra said it "regrets any offence taken to our recent tampon advertisement. It was never intended to upset or offend anyone."
Man up, Libra, the transgender people won't be buying your things anyway.
Unless it's for earrings.