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Real Solutions Needed To Address Gang Issue

Press Release

Real Solutions Needed To Address Gang Issue

Heather Roy MP

Tuesday, September 30 2008

The move to outlaw gangs, their patches and tattoos is nothing more than a ploy to give the appearance of action - a ploy that will yield no results or benefit to New Zealand society in the long-term struggle to deal with the country's gang problem, ACT Deputy Leader and National Security Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Such moves are wrongly-focussed, token-ist and entirely predictable - hard-line policies to deal with gangs are reeled out by different Parties in the run up to every election," Mrs Roy said.

"Clearly none of these 'flash in a pan' policies have worked - because they focus more on addressing the mayhem that individual gang members cause, rather than on initiatives that will hit gangs hardest and make it harder for them to operate.

"Legislation outlawing gangs and their insignia is just more law - we don't need more laws, we need to enforce the ones we already have and give police the power to tackle lawlessness where and when it happens.

"Gangs' impact on society is more about their actions than their visibility. Rather than worrying about what gangs wear, we should establish a special IRD unit to audit their incomes and hit them where it hurts the most - in their wallets, rather than their wardrobes.

"It is time for real solutions, not spin - like Phil Goff's comments yesterday, that Labour supports a 'three strikes' approach by proposing a third piece of legislation. H has previously been scathing of 'three strikes' suggestions - but has now stolen a phrase with a defined meaning, changed it, and is using it to appeal to voters.

"This is political spin at its worst. Enforcing the laws and by-laws we already have, and following the money rather than the mayhem - a view reinforced by South Australia Premier Mike Rann in Auckland yesterday - is the real answer to dealing with gangs in New Zealand," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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