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Meeting with gangs to curb violence

Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Maori Affairs

18 October 2009
Media Release
Meeting with gangs to curb violence

Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples says he has met with gangs to tell them face-to-face of his concerns over violence and the P trade, and the impacts of the spiral of violence on the communities, families and children involved.

“I called a meeting in March of sixteen recognised leaders of Black Power and the Mongrel Mob from all over New Zealand. We talked about what they could do to reduce gang violence; I asked them to support my stand against violence; and they told me about their dealings with government agencies,” said Dr Sharples.

“This meeting was shortly before the Drivers of Crime hui which I co-hosted at Parliament. Several gang members attended the Drivers of Crime hui, where I believe they made a useful contribution,” he said.

“Meeting and talking to gang leaders in no way endorses criminal or violent behaviour. Quiet diplomacy supports the government’s other strategies and policies for dealing with crime and violence. I believe there are times when you have to front up and talk, and not get into picking and choosing between winners and losers.

“For over thirty years, I have always been prepared to talk to whoever is necessary, to help stop violence escalating,” said Dr Sharples.

ENDS

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