Labour's Willie Jackson accuses National MP Chris Bishop of wanting to be 'Rambo'

Labour MP Willie Jackson has stretched his party's promise to keep its campaign "relentlessly positive" and "factual", claiming National's gang policy is to just "shoot them all".

Jackson appeared on The AM Show on Friday alongside National MP Chris Bishop, whom he called "Rambo".

National has ramped up its rhetoric on gangs in recent months, claiming gang membership is exploding thanks to the Government's approach, and proposing a 'Strike Force Raptor' police unit to take them down

But Jackson said he's worked with gangs for "many years", and that's the best way to deal with them - not "lock them all up and throw the key away".

"We have to go tough on them, without doubt, and we've put resources in - we've put 900 coppers on the ground. But the other side of it is we can't just exterminate them. This is what the National Party want to do.

"We've got to dig in with the gangs. Unlike National, we'll work with them to find a resolution for this country because the reality is you can't just shoot them all and lock them up and throw the key away, which is the National Party solution. 

"Chris Bishop thinks, with respect Chris, you think you're Rambo, you know. The reality is you can't have a Rambo approach with this. National had their chance. We need a more balanced approach. Stuart Nash is showing the way, our Police Minister. We have to continue with a balanced approach."

According to the official Rambo wiki page, the war hero/criminal portrayed by Sylvester Stallone has a confirmed 552 kills - almost half of them coming in the 99-minute long 2008 film Rambo.

Chris Bishop and Willie Jackson on The AM Show.
Chris Bishop and Willie Jackson on The AM Show. Photo credit: The AM Show

A bemused Bishop told AM Show host Duncan Garner he usually gets compared to Buzz Lightyear. A Google search for both the MP and Lightyear only brought up one result - Bishop himself comparing his looks to the Toy Story character in a Facebook post in August

Bishop said National's policy, rather than to "shoot them all" was to give police more powers to do things like search gang pads and issue firearms prohibition orders.

"The gangs have got all the illegal firearms and they flaunt it... we need to go and take them off them," he said.

"No one's endorsing police violence."

The Government has blamed the increase in gang numbers over the past two years on Australia's hardline immigration policy, which has seen 1200 deported here, according to Nash. 

He told NZME earlier this week the gang problem had been growing for "eight or nine years" - placing the origins back when National was in power - and the Government is "hoping to introduce laws that will allow us to go even harder".