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Goff condemns Triad, vigilante suggestions

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Corrections
Acting Minister of Justice
Acting Minister of Police

7 July 2008
Media statement

Goff condemns Triad, vigilante suggestions

Correction Minister and acting Minister of Police and Justice Phil Goff says that suggestions of employing Triad enforcers and armed vigilante groups are extreme, counterproductive and unacceptable.

The suggestions were made by Asian Anti-Crime Group organiser Mr Peter Low.

“I believe that most New Zealanders, including Asian New Zealanders, would condemn these suggestions,” Phil Goff said.

“The idea of employing and giving legitimacy to organised crime groups like the Triads is utterly objectionable.

“These are the very people involved internationally in murder and drug trafficking, including into New Zealand, which is behind some of the worst criminal activity in our society.

“Far from employing such people, the Government has legislation before the House in the form of the Organised Crime (Penalties and Sentencing) Bill, and the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Bill designed to crack down on gang activity and attack organised crime through removing its profits,” Mr Goff said.

“Nor is it acceptable to promote the idea of vigilante groups armed with firearms. This approach has never worked. Too often the victims have been innocent people and the result increased violence.

“There are far more effective proactive ways for members of the community to work with the police to enhance crime prevention and apprehension of criminals,” Mr Goff said.

“Neighbourhood Support, community patrols trained by and working with the Police, Maori and Pacific Wardens, support for preventative programmes and working with at-risk youth are some of the constructive alternatives.

“I appreciate the concern that exists around crime, particularly when there is a spate of serious offending such as occurred recently in Manurewa.

“Crime is always a problem to be taken seriously, and the community is right to demand no tolerance for it.

“Having said that, police statistics showing no upward trend in crime generally, with murder rates at the lowest in 10 years last year and overall crime lower than a decade ago, does not indicate that the problem is out of control.

“More police and tougher sentencing are already being implemented.

“Tougher sentencing introduced in the 2002 Sentencing and Parole Acts and the 2000 Bail Act have seen much longer sentences served by serious criminal offenders and a 72 per cent increase in prisoner numbers,” Phil Goff said.

“New Zealand has tougher laws than most comparable countries and higher imprisonment rates.

“But tough alone is not enough. That is why we are working hard on the preventive side as well, dealing with causative problems such as drugs, alcohol and dysfuncational families.

“We have of course also vastly increased police numbers, with 1000 additional front line police introduced in this term of government alone,” Phil Goff said.


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