Electoral commission staff to visit Mongrel Mob headquarters

A Mongrel Mob leader has promised Electoral Commission staff that they will be safe visiting gang turf. 

The commission had initially refused a visit to the gang's east coast headquarters, but have now reassessed after Rex Timu, Hastings Mongrel Mob President, assured them of their safety.

"I can guarantee them... that wherever they're going to go they're going to be safe, which I know they were concerned of."

The gang initially requested that electoral staff come to enrol their members, but were turned down, prompting the assurance from gang leadership.

The last election saw almost a million people fail to cast votes. This time, the Commission wants as many people as possible at the polling booths - regardless of criminal affiliations.

"We're always trading off duty of care - keeping our staff safe and encouraging everybody to enrol and vote," Alicia Wright, Chief Electoral Officer said.

"We're working our way through that, and we've found a way to do that." 

Ms Wright won't say whether that will involve having police at the meetings, but Rex Timu says that's an option. 

Community advocate and Black Power life member Denis O'Riely believes getting gang members to polling booths could help change the criminal mindset.

"If you're enjoying the benefits of a democracy then you have some responsibility in a democracy and that responsibility is to obey the law," he said.

Advanced voting for the election is now underway.

A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote to Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright. This was an error and has been corrected.

Newshub.

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