Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell 'appalled' at escalating gang violence

Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell says we "cannot continue to live with this level of violence" following the killing of two men on Tuesday night.

Police have launched a homicide inquiry after their bodies were found at a property on Ormsby Lane, Omanawa.

He says he's "appalled" at the continued escalation of violence that appears to be gang-related and wants something done about it.

"Yet again, I am calling on the Government to come and talk to us. We need to get everyone together here, the community, the police, iwi, to have a kōrero about the escalating problem we face here in Tauranga Moana," he told Newshub. 

"We cannot continue to live with this level of violence, that at some stage, and it is only a matter of time, will spill out into the community and we will have significant collateral damage."

Powell says he's looking to hold a strategic discussion with the Government and the wider community to develop an understanding of the situation so a plan can be devised.

The police are doing a "stunning job" under very difficult circumstances, he says, but Tauranga is a city where people are becoming "increasingly afraid" of the escalating violence.

"I am drowning in messages of various sorts, texts, Facebook messages, from residents who, if I can paraphrase... many are scared and some are angry, and if I look at the word anger, they are just scared as well."

National Party MP and spokesperson for police Brett Hudson says communities "shouldn't be living like this".

"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," he said in a statement.

Hudson's comments came after National's Firearms Prohibition Orders Bill was drawn from the Members' Bills ballot.

If the Bill becomes law, Hudson says it would give police more powers to search and take firearms off gang members.

Minister of Police Stuart Nash told NZME in January there was a gang problem in New Zealand after there were two gang-related firearms incidents in one weekend.

"Gangs have become a lot more sophisticated and organised, predominantly because of their control over the methamphetamine trade."

Nash says the Government is tackling the country's gang problem, including having more police, confiscating over $100 million of gang assets and hoping to introduce more gun legislation laws.

Powell also believes methamphetamine is part of the problem, and says it "is destroying the fabric of our society".

"Until we understand and accept that and try our level best to cut the head off the meth monster, these turf wars, which is effectively what they are, will continue, all around the country."

Cutting "the head of the meth monster is very resource-heavy", but he hopes the Government recognises that the cost of it pales in significance when compared with the damage it is doing.