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MP Challenges Gangs to prove they don’t intimidate

MP Challenges Gangs to prove they don’t intimidate, Bill Passes 1st Reading

Rotorua MP Todd McClay is challenging gangs to prove they don’t intimidate or harm society and to come forward and say why they shouldn’t be covered by his ban.

This follows the passing of his gang patch bill at first reading in Parliament tonight by 69 votes to 52. The bill was supported by National, New Zealand First, United Future and Act. (Labour, Greens, Mana against)

The bill aims to provide an environment free from gang intimidation in all Central and Local Government buildings in New Zealand.

Mr McClay said that the legislation sent a clear message to gang members who seek to intimidate and harm - “leave your patches at home”.

“People feel intimidated by the presence of gang members - this bill says to gangs that their presence in our communities is not wanted and will no longer be tolerated,” Mr McClay said.

“The harm and destruction caused by gangs is devastating. In particular the number of young people drawn to gang life is disturbing. There have been far too many lives ruined and families destroyed as a result of criminal gang involvement with drugs, violence, murder and rape” he said.

The bill will prohibit the display of gang insignia in government premises including WINZ offices, Housing New Zealand, council facilities and halls and the grounds of public schools, hospitals and swimming pools.

Breaking this law would result in arrest, a fine of up to $2000 and the destruction of the gang insignia.

“Gang patches are seen by gang members and affiliates as something to be proud of. For too many of our young they are something to aspire to. What they actually demonstrate is that the wearer has probably committed crimes to earn the right to be involved with the gang.

Banning the wearing of gang insignia on tax payer funded premises is about putting the rights of law abiding members of our community before those of criminals,” Mr McClay said.

The bill will now be referred to the Law and Order Select Committee which would invite public submissions.

ENDS

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