Christopher Luxon’s Action Plan to control gangs and violence

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National Party Leader Christopher Luxon speaking at the National Party Northern Regional Conference at the AUT Campus in Auckland today (Saturday, June 11, 2022) Photo Supplied

Staff Reporter

Auckland, June 11, 2022

Gangs have been an unwelcome part of New Zealand’s criminal scene for several decades, but over the last five years their numbers and the level of violence they are willing to engage in have

increased markedly, National Party Leader Christopher Luxon has said.

“New Zealand gangs have added more than 2000 new members to their ranks since 2017, a 45% increase. Over this time we have seen a significant escalation in gang-related violence, public intimidation and shootings, with violent crime up 21%,” he said, addressing the Northern Regional Conference of his Party in Auckland.

Ensuring safer communities

“National believes New Zealanders deserve to feel safe in their homes and communities. That means we need to take action to reverse the growth of gangs, reduce their ability to engage in criminal behaviour, and prevent them from further endangering the lives and livelihoods of law abiding Kiwis,” Mr Luxon said.

While Police do their very best to keep us safe, it is clear that they do not have the backing they need from the government to confront the growing threat and increased sophistication of organised criminal gangs. If we want to prevent the current level of violence from becoming a permanent feature of New Zealand society, we need to give Police the tools they need to go after the criminal gangs who only exist to inflict fear and misery on our communities, he said.

Mr Luxon said that a National government would ban gang patches in public places and give Police new powers to tackle gangs.

Increasing crime

“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. Gangs are currently recruiting more quickly than Police. During the five years of this Labour Government, gangs have so far added more than 2000 new members, while Police have added 1300 officers. It is unsurprising that as gang membership has exploded, there has been an escalation in crime, including public intimidation and shootings,” he said.

According to Mr Luxon, 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.

He said that 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.

Four New Powers to the Police

“But inevitably, that is a long-term response and there is 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 will back Police by giving them four new powers,” Mr Luxon said.

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: 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 do not 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.

Mr Luxon said that these four practical tools that would help Police who are facing a growing challenge on New Zealand’s streets.

“The scenes that we have witnessed recently in Auckland and other places are alarming law-abiding New Zealanders. We do not have to put up with it, and we should not. A National Government I lead will be backing Police, tackling gangs and protecting New Zealanders at home, at work and in their communities,” Mr Luxon said.

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