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Violent Gangs The Problem - Not Solution

Media Release

15 April 2008

Violent Gangs The Problem - Not Solution

New Zealand First has called on the Maori Party to stop its continual flirting with criminal gangs and to recognise that gangsters are helping create the problem with violent criminal offending – not providing the solution.

This follows Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples’ statement that gangs are becoming part of the solution to youth violence and his continued defence of street gang culture.

Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters said that Dr Sharples was well-intentioned but did not seem to understand that individuals do not join gangs to try to make the world a better place and to live in peace and harmony.

“It is well known that criminal gangs in New Zealand are behind drug dealing, teen prostitution, intimidation, theft and violence.

“Gang members shot a child in Wanganui, a woman was found battered to death at the Mongrel Mob headquarters in Porirua in January this year and there have been many other cases of serious offending.

“Instead of cosying up to gang members, the Maori Party should be encouraging young people to leave gangs and take up trade training or some form of useful employment.

“New Zealand First believes it is important to break the cycle of violent offending and is working on policies to help troubled young people leave a criminal lifestyle for something better.

“We have to be fair but firm. Gangs are a blight on society and should be outlawed. Well-meaning politicians like Dr Sharples should move into the real world and accept this,” said Mr Peters.


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