New figures show gang numbers have grown to almost 8000 nationwide, with Wellington seeing the greatest increase in gang membership last year.
Figures released to National show gang membership in Wellington increased by 51 per cent in 2020 and has almost doubled since Labour came to office.
There are now almost 1000 patched gang members living in Wellington.
“Gang members are a blight on society. These organised criminal organisations prey upon law abiding citizens and are targeting cities like Wellington to sell more methamphetamine,” Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.
“The fact they are gaining a significant foothold in Wellington is extremely troubling. The Government must take action to toughen up laws and support the police to enforce them.”
Since Labour came into office in 2017, the number of gang members in New Zealand has increased by 48 per cent to 2482, with hundreds more being prospected.
The numbers aren’t much better for the three police districts encompassing greater Auckland – Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata – where there are now 1529 gang members.
“The public wants real action, not just talk, with gang numbers spiralling out of control in this country,” Ms Collins says.
“More gang members means more crime and violence on our streets. Already this year we have seen armed robberies, drive-by shootings, and a prison destroyed by gang members.
“We’ve also seen more general arming orders being issued by the Police as they respond to this growing threat.”
Ms Collins says Labour must deliver on its 2017 promise of 1800 additional new police, urgently make Firearm Prohibition Orders legal so Police can take guns from gangs, and be more focused on reducing crime rates rather than just reducing the prison population.
“The Labour Government’s soft approach to crime means the recent announcement of a Police operation targeting gangs is simply too little too late, and won’t turn back the tide.
“If Labour doesn’t stop sitting on its hands, gang harm will increase in every suburb of New Zealand as quickly as the methamphetamine trade has. It’s time to take action.”
You can see a spreadsheet showing the number of gang members in each Police District over the past three years here. This information was provided by the Police Minister in answer to Written Parliamentary Questions from National.
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