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Government In Denial Over Gang Numbers

Government In Denial Over Gang Numbers

New Zealand First law and order spokesperson Ron Mark is disappointed that the Government continues to understate the number of gang associates and believes that the greatest barrier to successfully addressing the gang problem is denial of gang presence.

Mr Mark today asked the Minister of Police for a third time to update figures provided by the previous Minister in 2002 stating that there were an estimated 21,882 gang affiliates in New Zealand. The Minister replied by claiming the previous figures were inaccurate and that there are currently only 3,500 patched gang members and affiliates.

“The Government’s continued understatement of national data on the presence of gangs will eventually end any hope of a successful national approach to the problem,” said Mr Mark.

“Recently we have had the Minister telling us that by her latest figures not only has the number of gang associates shrunk by 18,000 in just 6 years, but that 40% of the 3,500 that remain are safely locked up in prison.

“I’m sorry but I don’t believe that for one second and I don’t expect the public to buy it either.

“The truth of the matter is that we will not get anywhere by pretending the problem is a small one. We need Police to be given the resources to address the problem, and despite Government assertions, that will require a lot of resourcing as the problem is massive.

“Until we get proper information we will get nowhere, in fact we will continue to go backwards because everyone except the Government seems to know that gangs are getting bigger all the time.

Denying the scale of the problem is making it worse. It is a sad fact but gangs are everywhere, and denying it will not make them go away,” said Mr Mark.

ENDS

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