Gangs need consequences, not cups of tea

Revelations Associate Justice Minister Willie Jackson met with the Mongrel Mob at gang headquarters and Black Power in the Beehive on multiple occasions indicate that, far from hostile, Government relations with gangs are practically friendly, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“Gangs are recruiting faster than the police, violent crime is on the rise, and the Government is releasing criminals from prison early. I can’t think of a New Zealand Government that has ever been as soft on crime and gangs as this one.  

“In fact, it appears the Government has given up trying to halt gang growth. Former Minister of Police Stuart Nash said in 2017 that he was going to ‘smash the gangs’. This week, Nash stated ‘Unless you are a gang member, you have no reason to feel unsafe. The public are not everyday targets.’

“Tell that to the increasing number of people who have been victims of gang crime or collateral damage to gang conflict. New Zealanders should not have to put up with patched gang members intimidating their communities.

“Gang membership has increased by 50 per cent under this Government to over 8000 across New Zealand. It certainly seems that Labour is now trying to focus on appeasing them.

“The tail is wagging the dog. Gangs are in the driver’s seat with this Government and instead of telling gang members to obey the law or face the consequences, Ministers are sitting down with them for a cup of tea.

“The Government should focus on holding gangs to account for the drugs they peddle, the illegal guns they haven’t handed back, and the violence they perpetrate - not meeting with them so they can be better ‘understood’.

“Gangs have not only grown in size under this Government but are becoming more emboldened and more brazen with their lawlessness.

“Minister for the Prevention of Sexual Violence Marama Davidson also met with the Mongrel Mob in April and later spoke at a gang pad in early May.

“The Government must deliver on its promise urgently of 1800 new police, with 700 of those tasked with tackling organised crime.

“Without urgent action - gang members will soon out-number police.”