Gangs targeted in ACT Party proposal, pledges to 'hit them where it hurts'

Gangs will be targeted in a new ACT Party policy which promises to amend the Criminal Proceeds Act and "hit them where it hurts".

The policy, released on Saturday, would allow the police to apply to the courts for an order to seize assets if a search finds an illegal operation, unlawful possession of a firearm, and a person who is a gang member or close affiliate.

"ACT will target the gangs by hitting them where it hurts - their pockets," the party said in a statement.

Party leader David Seymour told Newshub Nation the policy was simple.

"If the police find illegal firearms and illegal activity by a gang, then they can take their assets because, at the moment, gangs are getting around the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act by having a large number of small operations," Seymour told host Simon Shepherd. "We're saying that if you have a firearm and you are dealing drugs and you are a gang, then the Crown can take your assets because, ultimately, these guys don't care about going to jail."

Gangs were using money and assets to recruit people and keep "feeding the disease", he said.

Seymour said under the current Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act, police had to prove at least $30,000 worth of assets were involved before a seizure.

"What we're saying is that if you're a gang that's breaking the law and you've got an illegal firearm onsite - we're going for your assets straight away.

"This is a practical policy - it's achievable and it would make a difference. Will it solve the whole problem? No. Will it get us going in the right direction with practical steps? Yes."

The party is also set to make other policy announcements this weekend, with a campaign launch on Sunday.

Late last year, The National Party under ex-leader Simon Bridges announced it would target gangs and meth houses in its social services policy.

Seymour said its gang policy wasn't related to ACT's vocal criticism of the Government's gun reform in the wake of the Christchurch shooting.

But Seymour said the Government wasn't doing enough about the "real problem".

David Seymour.
David Seymour. Photo credit: Newshub Nation.

"I'm much more interested in punishing the criminals who shouldn't have firearms who are actually hurting people than going after the law-abiding firearm owners.

"Other than that, this is a separate, legitimate issue in its own right; that we are very concerned about gangs and P and so are a lot of New Zealanders."