Advertising Standards Authority rejects complaint ACT ad implies 'ministers themselves are gang members'

New Zealand's ad watchdog has rejected a complaint that an ACT Party ad implies "ministers themselves are gang members". 

The Facebook ad posted on ACT leader David Seymour's page in May shows an image of Greens co-leader Marama Davidson and Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson standing in front of a Mongrel Mob gang patch. 

"Yet another Government Minister has held secret meetings with gang members," the text accompanying the ad reads. 

It came after Newshub revealed Jackson had four meetings with gang members since the election despite the Government distancing itself from Davidson who was criticised for speaking at a Mongrel Mob event in her capacity as a minister. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint about ACT's ad over concern the image was "misleading" and suggested the "MPs on the image are associated with the Mongrel Mob and that they are members". 

The ASA said while the ad does suggest the two ministers pictured have met with gangs, it was "not likely that the consumer takeout would be that the ministers themselves were gang members". 

The ad was found not to be misleading. 

It comes as the Government faces backlash for giving nearly $3 million from Proceeds of Crime to a Mongrel Mob-linked rehab programme, which ACT and National have both criticised as inappropriate and sending the wrong message. 

"The Proceeds of Crime Fund exists to address organised crime harm and drug-related harm. It shouldn't be providing taxpayer money to the same gangs who create the harm we are trying to stop," said ACT MP Nicole McKee. 

Newshub revealed McKee also met with a Mongrel Mob representative, which Jackson described as hypocritical. 

National has written to the Auditor-General requesting an investigation into the Government giving money to the Mongrel Mob-linked rehab scheme, as well as Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt giving a $200 donation when he visited the gang pad alongside Davidson. 

Hunt told Newshub Nation it was "unfair and unkind" for the Opposition to call for his sacking over the donation. 

He said it was important to "reach beyond the Beehive and Lambton Quay to different communities to show how human rights can help deal with difficult issues".