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Police Minister Stuart Nash has mislead New Zealanders by saying a huge increase in gang members is because of criminals deported from Australia, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“According to figures released by the Police Minister, only 22 people deported from Australia since November 2017 are gang members. But since the soft on crime Labour Government took office there are an additional 1386 gang members in New Zealand. 

“Mr Nash’s office pointed to the 1200 offenders who have been deported to New Zealand from Australia as the reason for the huge increase, even though his own data indicates that isn’t the case.

“Mr Nash told reporters that the Government is ‘winning the war on gangs’. An increase of nearly 1400 gang members under his watch is not winning. He’s making excuses that he knows don’t stack up, and he has no plan to reduce gang members to keep our communities safe.

“Labour want to reduce prison numbers at any cost and has opposed strong measures such as National’s Firearms Prohibition Orders which would take guns off gangs.

“Gangs do nothing but peddle misery and create more victims. National is the party of law and order and will ensure there are fewer victims of crime. We will release a comprehensive Gang Plan in 2020 that will crack down hard on gangs.

“Just this weekend gangs were openly brawling in Huntly. National’s Gang Plan is badly needed.”

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