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Government Must Stop Nurturing Gangs

Government Must Stop Nurturing Gangs

ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today attacked the Labour Government for its failure to crack down on increasing gang activity.

"Answers to my Parliamentary Questions show that, since Labour has been in Government, the number of gang apprehensions has risen by more than 30 percent," said Dr Newman.

"In this time, gang apprehensions across the board - from violence and sexual offences, to drug offences and property abuse - have soared. This clearly points to a dramatic increase in gang activity.

"This is an appalling indictment of the Government's inability to manage New Zealand's gang problem effectively. Gangs are an entrenched problem for New Zealand, yet Labour seems willing to nurture their existence.

"Disparities between social welfare and police funding have led to gangs becoming stronger and stronger. The ease in which gang members can receive benefits means they have more time to commit crimes. Meanwhile, cuts to police funding - from 1.9 percent of total Government spending, to 1.7 percent - have hamstrung police in their efforts to address this problem.

"With the current uproar over attacks by vicious dogs, why has the Government never given such attention to dealing vicious humans? If some breeds of dog can be made illegal, then why not gangs?

"ACT is calling on the Government to adopt a zero tolerance approach, not just to crime but, to gangs in general. Only then will residents in gang-ridden areas, such as Highbury, be able to feel safe on their own streets - something which New Zealanders should have as a right, rather than a privilege," Dr Newman said.

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