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National Proposes New Powers To Tackle Gangs

A National Government would ban gang patches in public places and give Police new powers to tackle gangs, Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon said today.

“New Zealanders are waking up daily to news of gang shootings and the only question is not if or when there’ll be another, but whose street it will be in next time,” Mr Luxon says.

“Gangs are currently recruiting more quickly than Police. During the five years of this Labour Government, gangs have so far added more than 2,000 new members, while Police have added 1,300 officers.

“It’s unsurprising that as gang membership has exploded, there’s been an escalation in crime, including public intimidation and shootings.

“In the past five years there has been an 11% increase in homicides, a 21% increase in violent crime, and a 31% increase in assaults.”

Mr Luxon says the causes of crime and increasing gang membership are complex and a National Government would bring back the social investment approach to help steer at-risk young people in a direction that would give them the chance of a more positive and productive life.

“But inevitably that’s a long-term response and there’s an urgent need to act right now to tackle gangs who are emboldened and who are bringing fear to Kiwi neighbourhoods and families.”

A National Government would back Police by giving them four new powers:

One – Banning gang patches and insignia in public

This occurs already in government buildings like hospitals and courts. National would extend these rules to every public space. Patches are about intimidation, and are given only to people who have committed a violent crime to show loyalty to a gang.

Two – Stopping gang members gathering in public

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Police will have the power to issue dispersal notices to anyone they reasonably suspect of being a gang member or gang prospect. Once issued, gang members would be required to immediately leave a public area and not associate in public with one another for seven days.

Three – Stopping gang offenders associating with each other

Gang crimes don’t just happen; they are co-ordinated and planned. Police will be able to issue Consorting Prohibition Notices if they need to in order to stop known gang offenders committing serious offences. Once issued, those gang members will not be allowed to associate or communicate with one another for up to three years.

Four – Stopping gang members accessing guns

National will give Police the power to issue Firearms Prohibition Orders. These could be issued against any gang member who in the last 10 years has been convicted of a serious offence, and would make it illegal for that person to access firearms or enter certain premises where firearms are present. Police would have the power to search people who are subject to a Firearms Prohibition Order, and search their premises or vehicles for firearms at any time.

“These are four practical tools that would help Police who are facing a growing challenge on New Zealand’s streets.

“The scenes we’ve witnessed recently in Auckland and other places are alarming law-abiding New Zealanders.

“We don’t have to put up with it, and we shouldn’t.

“A National Government I lead will be backing Police, tackling gangs and protecting New Zealanders at home, at work and in their communities.”

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