Ongoing violence in Palmerston North highlights the need for police to be given the mandate and resources to adopt a zero tolerance approach to crime - especially gang-related crime - ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.
"Police believe the latest incident, in which a Highbury man was shot while surrounded by children, is linked to the area's continuing gang violence," Dr Newman said.
"New Zealand's gangs have steadily become more violent and prolific. Recruiting members at a younger age, these gangs are turning Highbury's streets into a war zone. If the police do not crack down on this increase in gang activity, we risk such outbreaks occurring throughout the country.
"Unfortunately, however, police are not equipped to stem the growing tide of violence. The majority of gang members are unemployed. In spending nearly a quarter of its total budget on welfare, Labour is, in effect, funding gang activities.
Not only that, but the Government has cut the percentage of spending on police from 1.9 percent when they came into power, to 1.7 percent now. This has resulted in an explosion in drug and gang offences, and chronic police shortages.
"With Labour's leeching of police resources, it is obvious to see why police cannot deal effectively with New Zealand's gang problem.
"Gangs have long been a thorn in the side of New Zealand society. Now, children cannot play in the yard for fear of being shot. A zero tolerance approach cleaned up the streets of New York - turning it from one of the world's most crime and gang-ridden cities, into one of its safest. The Government must give police the resources to do the same, instead of giving gangs free rein," said Dr Newman.