For the second time National’s Firearms Prohibition Orders Bill has been drawn from the Ballot, hopefully this time the Government will come to its senses and support this sensible piece of legislation, National List MP based in Ōhariu, and spokesperson for Police, Brett Hudson says.
“The Government has continued to kick National’s Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPO) Bill for touch. It has voted against implementing FPOs repeatedly.
“FPOs give Police more powers to search and take firearms off gangs members. They apply to the most dangerous offenders who have convictions for firearms offences or serious violence.
“National campaigned on introducing FPOs in 2017, we had a Member’s Bill before Parliament in 2018 that the Government voted down, and we included FPOs in our proposed changes to the Government’s gun law reforms, but again it wasn’t picked up.
“The Government has now started a consultation paper on this – as is typical with this Government, it’s all talk and no action.
“Right now the number of reported incidents involving gangs and firearms is increasing. Today Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell says his city is in a ‘state of fear and anger’ over the spate of gang violence. He’s said every week for a month Tauranga has allegedly had gang activity in town. Our communities shouldn’t be living like this.
“Now is the time to crack down on gangs and this is one way of doing so.
“Maybe now that Police Minister Stuart Nash has admitted New Zealand has a gang problem he will convince his Government to support the Bill. Only National will crack down on the gangs and make your communities safer.”
The second tranche of changes to our firearms law is a missed opportunity as it does nothing to address genuine criminals and gangs, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“The Government has lost sight of the point of the changes to our Arms Legislation and is targeting the wrong people. Instead of focusing on criminals and gang members, the Government is heaping more costs and regulations onto law-abiding New Zealanders.
“The Government should be taking the opportunity now to make it harder for gang members to get their hands on illegal firearms, especially since in the last month we’ve seen increased gang activity involving firearms.
“There has been a suspected gang shooting in Ruatoria; gang members firing shots and brawling in the main road of Taradale; a day of gang warfare ended with shots fired outside Napier Health Centre; a shooting occurred at a home in Tauranga and on the same day there were further reports of a shooting at a Western Bay of Plenty property.
“A woman was also shot, point plank, by a gang member on her door step in Auckland.
“These are just a few of the gang related incidents involving firearms that are reported about almost daily now.
“The Government should be doing more. National has tried again and again to introduce our Firearms Prohibition Orders Bill but the Government has blocked it at every opportunity. This is a sensible piece of legislation that would give Police more powers to search and take firearms off gang members, and focuses on criminals and illegal activity.
“With the increase in gang members we are seeing an increase in criminal activity, yet the Government is prioritising more rules and costs on people who already obey the law over going after genuine criminals.”
Under this soft on crime Government the number of victims of crimes has skyrocketed with 278,644 victims recorded last year, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“That is a staggering number. In the 12 months ending 30 November 2019 there has been almost 20,000 more New Zealanders become victims of crime than there was the previous year. In 2017 there was about 11,000 fewer victims.
“In the past year there has been 51,023 burglaries, a 6.3 per cent increase on the previous twelve months. Theft victims increase too, with 55,851 offences. There were 10,352 more victimisations for theft compared to the previous 12 months.
“This is despite the Government claiming to add more police officers to the force.
“The increase is a result of this Government’s soft on crime attitude. Under it the number of gang members is on the rise, and every week New Zealanders are hearing about more and more incidents involving gangs.
“The Government is still insisting on reducing the prison population, yet crime is climbing and it has no plan to reduce it. There is no doubt we will see the number of victims continue to climb if the Government doesn’t change its approach.
“I hope it doesn’t take more burglaries in Police Minister Stuart Nash’s own electorate before he admits New Zealand has a crime problem.
“National will always put the safety of New Zealanders before the rights of dangerous criminals. New Zealanders deserve to feel safe in their communities. Under this Government they are not.”
Police data found here
It has taken a mass brawl in his own electorate for Minister Stuart Nash to finally open his eyes and admit what every other New Zealander already knows, New Zealand has a gang problem, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“After a long weekend of gang violence in which a child was almost shot the Minister has been forced to admit there is a serious problem, with 1400 new patched gang members appearing in communities across the country since the Labour-led Government took office.
“Kiwis should be able to live their lives and be out and about in their communities without the threat of gang violence exploding around them.
“Police are doing their best and I respect the work they’re doing, but they are limited by a soft on crime Government who has no vision on how to combat gangs.
“New Zealand needs a concrete plan to disrupt gangs. National has proposed a unit modelled on ‘Strike Force Raptor’ that will be solely dedicated to stopping criminal gang behaviour.
“National will be releasing a comprehensive Gang Plan this year setting out how we will crack down on gangs. Unlike the Labour-led Government, a Government led by Simon Bridges will harass and disrupt gangs every single day until they stop peddling misery in our communities.”
Two violent incidents in two days have provided a graphic illustration of why the Government needs to get tougher on gang activity, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“The latest reports of gunshots being fired during a gang altercation near a Napier shopping centre are particularly disturbing because it was during the middle of the day on a Sunday, when plenty of families and small children would have been around.
“Even more disturbing is that it was just a day after a child was almost run over by a fleeing vehicle when shots were fired during a reported gang altercation in Ruatoria. It’s extremely fortunate no one was hurt both times.
“Kiwis should be able to live their lives and enjoy being out and about in their communities without having to worry about Black Power and the Mongrel Mob brawling in the streets.
“Instead of cracking down on law-abiding gun owners, the Government should be focusing on getting firearms out of the hands of gangs and criminals.
“Gang membership has increased by 26 per cent under this Labour-led Government, with 1400 new patched gang members appearing in communities across the country.
“The Police are doing all that they can with the resources they have, but they’re being let down by a Government that has no plan to deal with gangs or stop their recruitment.
“National will be releasing a comprehensive Gang Plan this year setting out how we will crack down on gangs. We’ve already proposed a designated police unit, similar to Strike Force Raptor in New South Wales, which would harass and disrupt gang members.
“National is the party of law and order. We won’t be soft on crime like the current Government is. We’ll do everything we can to stop gangs peddling misery in our communities.”
This Government is overseeing data breach after data breach, and the latest breach involving the firearm buy-back programme is incredibly serious, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“Police Minister Stuart Nash needs to take responsibility. His Government put the buy-back scheme together. It has failed to protect New Zealanders’ private and very sensitive information. It has failed to deliver a secure environment for personal data.
“New Zealanders will be rightly worried about where their sensitive information is, and who has it. Kiwis should be able to have confidence in the agencies holding their personal data. Even more concerning is that the data breached includes bank account numbers and details around the firearms owned.
“This isn’t the first time there has been a significant data breach under this Government, there was a breach at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage where information on children had been accessed; staff at NZTA were at risk of personal identity theft after a USB drive containing staff identity cards was lost; private details were stolen from the Commerce Commission; and even Treasury has been breached.
“How can New Zealanders have confidence in the firearms register the Government is proposing when they can’t even protect their personal details in their buy-back scheme? New Zealanders’ data is at risk and this shows we can’t go rushing into a firearms register. The Government’s track record on IST and data is simply not up to scratch.
“In this year of delivery, all Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Government can deliver are privacy breaches.”
National is proposing a new unit within the Police which would crack down on gangs and allow us take back control, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“The unit would be modelled on ‘Strike Force Raptor’ based in New South Wales which was set up to target the activity of outlaw motorcycle gangs and associates.
“Gang numbers have exploded in New Zealand under this soft on crime Government. They have grown at almost twice the rate of new Police recruits. Since the election gang membership has increased by 1,400. The number of frontline Police officers has increased by around 850. Gangs peddle misery in our communities, manufacturing and dealing drugs and carrying out violence.
“A unit like ‘Strike Force Raptor’ would interrupt gang activity. If someone was punched outside a nightclub by a gang member, the unit would take over the case. If gang members didn't pay their traffic fines, it would follow up to ensure their driver licences were taken away.
“The specialist officers would check gang clubhouses and use council rules to shut them down for shoddy workmanship or unconsented work. If alcohol was being served at the gang pad, it would invoke legislation so the gangs need a liquor licence. Officers could check benefit payments and tax records for taxpayer assistance gang members weren't entitled to.
“National would bring back targets for Police which were dropped by this Government. This includes reducing violent crime victimisations, reducing reoffending, reducing family violence victimisations, ensuring 95 per cent of New Zealanders live within 25 kilometres of a 24/7 on-duty Police officer, ensuring 98 per cent of burglaries are attended by Police within 48 hours and having 90 per cent of 111 emergency calls answered within 10 seconds.
“National is the Party of law and order. We are doing the work in Opposition so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020. We won’t tolerate gangs peddling misery. We will release a comprehensive gang plan next year to crack down on them.”
The Government’s soft on crime approach has led to Police taking matters into their own hands to address the problem of gang violence, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“A special Gang Focus unit has been set up in Hawke's Bay to address the swelling instances of gang violence in the region.
“There were four gang-related attacks in 24 hours in Hawke’s Bay alone this week, including a violent standoff at the Napier Medical Centre.
“Gang membership has increased by 26 per cent in the past two years, and Hawke’s Bay has seen a 58 per cent increase.
“National proposed implementing Firearms Prohibition Orders that would have given police greater tools to get guns out of the hands of gangs. But the Government blocked this from becoming law over a year ago.
"As a result the Police Minister now has bigger problems with gangs and firearms in his own backyard and people across Napier and Hawkes Bay are at greater risk than they would have been.
“Gangs do nothing but peddle misery and create more victims. They are running rampant because this Government has no plan to keep New Zealander’s safe.
“National is committed to clamping down on gangs and keeping New Zealanders safe. Next week we will release our Law and Order Discussion Document which will highlight some of our ideas for addressing the growing gang problem in New Zealand.”
The Police Commissioner has confirmed what everyone else knew: there has always been one target for additional Police and the Government is falling to deliver, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“In Select Committee today Police Commissioner Mike Bush threw the Prime Minister under the bus. He confirmed there has always been one target to add more police to the force, and that is 1800 extra police taking into account attrition.
“The Prime Minister told Parliament that the Government would reach 1800 new police this term when she came under pressure from questioning by Simon Bridges a month ago.
“Her slip led to Police Minister Stuart Nash making up an entirely new target to try to protect her, which didn’t take into account attrition.
“Today confirms just how desperate Stuart Nash is. He knew he wasn’t going to recruit 1800 extra police this term. The Minister moved the goal posts to suit his Government’s interests and he’s been found out.
“Both the Police Minister and the Prime Minister have claimed this month’s graduation will mean the Government will meet their target of 1800 new police. But once again the Police Commissioner refuted this, confirming he had never claimed they would meet their target this month.
“Stuart Nash is failing New Zealanders who want safe communities, and he’s failing the Police who were planning for these extra resources.
“This Government is scrambling, it’s more focused on lofty promises than the safety of New Zealanders, and it’s been found out.
“Labour is failing to deliver on its promises.”
The Government risks its buyback scheme becoming a failure if it doesn’t take swift action to engage with responsible firearms owners and the firearms community, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“With fewer than 100 firearms handed in at every buyback event, the Minister should heed expert advice and make changes to his scheme if he wants to ensure the safety of New Zealanders.
“The Government should review its price list for firearms, it needs to include accessories, ammunition and safes that are redundant now the law has changed, and most importantly, it needs to work with the firearms community.
“Police Minister Stuart Nash has failed to engage with the firearms community and they’re responding by not engaging with the buyback. By the Government’s own estimates, there are still 140,000 or more firearms yet to be handed in.
“The Government is compromising public safety by failing to make its gun buyback scheme fair and reasonable. It disregarded expert advice from KMPG that showed the cost of the scheme could be up to $750 million for it to be effective.
“Instead, Mr Nash has focused on budget bottom lines rather than work with the firearms community to make New Zealand safer. He’s refusing to own up to his mistakes and admit he got the buyback wrong.
“Gangs are not complying and we’re seeing no action from the Government tackle illegal firearm use. The focus has always been on the law abiding firearms community. If Mr Nash was as tough on gangs and real criminals as he is trying to be on licensed firearms owners, maybe we would see some improvements to public safety.
“The Minister needs to own that he got this scheme wrong. If the Government wants to do justice to its buyback, it needs to review its price lists. Anything less is undermining the point of the buyback and failing to make New Zealand safer.”