Gang member says National's law and order plan will 'contribute to bigger numbers'

National's law and order proposal to crackdown on gangs and revoke parole for people who associate with them will "contribute to bigger numbers", a gang member says.

Black Power member and social worker Eugene Ryder told Newshub it's a "known fact" that prisons are a "breeding ground for gangs" and that keeping members in prison longer will just add to their numbers.

"Creating laws that are for a specific part of society - that can get dangerous when we're under the assumption that there's one rule for all, and that's not what [Simon Bridges] is promoting."

Bridges, National leader, is looking to set up something like a 'Strike Force Raptor' unit within the police if elected in 2020 that he says could cost "tens of millions of dollars".

"The Government I lead will harass and disrupt gangs every single day I am Prime Minister," Bridges said on Tuesday.

That means tougher sentences for gang members and banning patches in public, or as Bridges describes it: "Intimidation bling that gangs wear around New Zealand."

The special police taskforce Bridges wants would be modelled off New South Wales' Strike Force Raptor unit established in 2009.

It will be an expensive policy for New Zealand, but tough on gang rhetoric wins votes and for Bridges that's priceless.

He appears to be making good on his crackdown catchphrase from earlier this year, targeting "the gangs, the crims and the extremists."

Except, extremists seem to have fallen off the list. There is not one mention of terrorism, extremism or white supremacy in the whole 48-page law and order policy proposal document.

Newshub asked Bridges if he would be okay with someone walking down the street with a swastika logo on but not okay with a gang patch. 

"This is not about solving every problem in this world."

His party's other policies would see prisoners stay inside longer as National wants to make it harder for prisoners to get parole, by:

 

  • Revoking parole for those who associate with gangs
  • Refusing parole for murderers who refuse to give up the location of a body
  • Prisoners would have to educate themselves up to NCEA Level 2 to get out early

 

It would mean more police arresting gang members and fewer getting parole, all while New Zealand's prisons are near capacity. So Bridges is even considering building more prisons.

"If that's what's required - more prisons."

Corrections Minister and Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis told Newshub the Government cannot afford to build "billion-dollar American-style mega-prisons".

He described National's policy proposals as a "mishmash of old policies".

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz