The Mongrel Mob says National MP Simeon Brown's tweet calling them "scaredy-cats" for rescheduling an appearance before MPs has "backfired" on him.
The Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom was set to submit on Brown's Firearm Prohibition Orders Bill on Wednesday but the appearance was cancelled. Brown tweeted in response labelling them a "bunch of scaredy-cats".
Brown's legislation would provide new powers to the police to make sure certain gang members don't have access to firearms, while not putting unnecessary restrictions on legal gun owners.
The Waikato Mongrel Mob's public relations representative Louise Hutchinson responded to Brown on social media, saying he was "wrong" because they had asked for the submission to be rescheduled.
"Get your facts right before you go spinning propaganda on social media."
Brown followed up with another tweet saying: "Organised crime not so organised when not committing crime. This is the second opportunity they had to submit on my Bill but weren't available when the submission date arrived."
Hutchinson thinks Brown was trying to whip up negative sentiment.
"Is this what he does to every group that reschedules their submission? Or was this just part of their political narrative that they continue to spin and target the kingdom for?" she told Newshub.
"He actually did a second tweet to say this was the second time we'd rescheduled, so yeah all good, but that first tweet was definitely on purpose."
Hutchinson said the tweet "kind of backfired" on Brown.
The original tweet has more than 80 comments so far and Hutchinson pointed out that there was some quite a bit of backlash to Brown's remarks.
"How is this helpful? Just sounds spiteful and a low blow," one person wrote.
"Simeon, don't act like a school kid. Show some professionalism," another said.
Others just seemed to find it amusing.
"This was the second time the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom was scheduled to appear before the Justice Committee to submit on my Bill - and they pulled out from submitting both times," Brown told Newshub.
"Blaming their lack of appearance on scheduling issues seems a bit weak when they have been given two opportunities to appear. Organised crime doesn't seem that organised when they aren't committing crime.
"I understand they may be given another opportunity and I hope they take it up as I am interested in hearing their views and asking them a range of questions about the harm gangs do in the community, particularly when it comes to firearms."
Hutchinson said they had to reschedule because of work commitments.
"That's the other thing, it's like they sit in this place in Parliament and it's all their rules but it's so disenfranchising for our communities because our people work," she told Newshub.
"They think our people are selling drugs and everything. We don't live these lives where we can sit around and do all these things like they do."
Hutchinson said they would not support Brown's legislation.
"The only way we're going to reduce gun violence and all those types of things is by prevention and education and reducing poverty. This is just a political spin."
Gang numbers are on the rise in New Zealand. In October 2017 when Labour took office the number on the national gang list was 5300. By the end of last year that had ballooned to 7800 - an increase of nearly 2500.
"The numbers could be up because of association," Hutchinson said. "We're not saying there isn't definitely an issue with gang numbers increasing but you've got to look at the 501s coming in, poverty, homelessness - those are the things that will be driving any increase."
It's not the first time the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom has taken on politicians.
It hit back at former NZ First MP Shane Jones in February last year after he suggested a separate court process for gang members, and attacked gang leaders for "trying to pass themselves off as crime-free apostles".
President of the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom Chapter Sonny Fatupaito said Jones was "using gangs for political gain".
That same month the gang accused former National leader Simon Bridges of trying to "advance his political rhetoric" by blasting gang culture at a public meeting in Tauranga.