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Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Bill

Rotorua MP welcomes First Reading of Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Bill

MP for Rotorua, Todd McClay has welcomed the First Reading of his Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Bill in Parliament last evening.

“People feel intimidated by the presence of gang members. They feel intimidated by what they stand for, and they feel intimidated every time they see them in a Work and Income office, at Council swimming pools, and in schools and in hospital around this country. Law abiding citizens deserve to go about their business free form gang-instigated intimidation” Mr McClay said.

Aiming to reduce the level of intimidation in the community, the Bill implements restrictions around Gang Insignia being displayed on the premises of departments of the Public Service, Crown entities and as well as local government in New Zealand. This will include the grounds of public schools, ECE centres, hospitals and Council swimming and aquatic centres.

“Contravention of the law will result in arrest and a fine of up to $2,000 with the destruction of gang insignia.” Mr McClay stated

Police estimate there are more than 3,500 patched adult gang members in New Zealand with gangs making up 30% of the prison population.

Mr McClay’s Bill is modelled on the Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Act, championed by former Wanganui Mayor, Michael Laws. Mr McClay said that Wanganui experience a decline in gang membership by 15% in the first 12 months of their law being in place.

“This was great news for Wanganui and my Bill will give police and local communities additional powers to push back against the significant harm that gangs do” he said.

“To gang members I say this: if you go to a government premise with a patch, your government will not serve you. Instead, a policeman will and he will want to talk to you about the things you and your criminal mates have been up to,” Mr McClay said.

Mr McClay expresses his thanks to MPs Winston Peters and members of New Zealand First, Peter Dunn of United Future, John Banks of the Act Party for their support on this issue.

The Bill is expected to be voted on Wednesday 29 August.

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