Auckland Central MP and Green Party drug law reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick hopes to tighten liquor laws amid a spike in serious assaults in her city.
Police data shows there were 1828 serious assaults resulting in injury in May this year compared to 652 in May 2015 - an increase of more than 50 percent.
National MP Simeon Brown, who represents the Pakuranga electorate, says "enough is enough" and is continuing his call to bring back Armed Response Teams, which were trialled by police last year but discontinued.
"The Government is failing to respond to this increase in violence and crime, leaving our streets less safe," he said on Friday, citing the police data. "Enough is enough. National will not stand back while crime continues to rise."
But Swarbrick, the first Green MP to win the Auckland Central seat, says these problems will not be solved by "oversimplified political rhetoric", telling Newshub the only long-term solution is to tackle it at the source.
"The police themselves have said to me a number of times that they are not equipped to tackle so much of the work put on their plate; underlying mental health issues, substances including alcohol abuse, material deprivation and inequality. None of those things will be a quick fix, but left to fester they'll only continue to drive social problems.
"We've also got to be willing to have grown up conversations about reducing alcohol harm, and what it looks like to reduce reliance on venues and hospitality on excessive sales of it."
The Green MP, 27, told Newshub she was invited by local police to monitor their activities on a 10pm-5am Friday shift a fortnight ago.
"Many of those police spoke to me about how alcohol drove so much of the harm they had to attend to, and I saw it first hand. That's why we've got to be willing to have a grown up conversation about public health measures to reduce that harm."
She pointed to her Member's Bill, currently in the ballot at Parliament, that would end the special appeals process on local alcohol policies to ensure communities have real control and the final say over liquor sales in their neighbourhoods.
Swarbrick said it "blocks communities from putting in place the alcohol laws they want, by specifically enabling hugely expensive litigation from big alcohol companies and supermarket corporations".
She also wants to end the "egregious normalisation and glamorisation" of alcohol by ending sports advertising and sponsorship.
"Tobacco sponsorship was removed from sports in the 1990s with a government programme supporting sports clubs to transition away from harmful tobacco sponsorship. We can do the same again."
Justice Minister Kris Faafoi says the Government will "have a look at" the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act towards the second half of the term.
Swarbrick says she suspects COVID-19 has also played a part in the growing violence in Auckland, because the changes to society have been "incredibly challenging for a number of people".
"It highlighted the need to support everyone's access to basic needs, to security, meaning and community. These issues didn't come about overnight, but huge stressors like a global pandemic can really turn them up a notch."
Brown says gangs are a major issue. The number of patched gang members on the National Gang List has kept rising since Labour came to power, from 5343 in October 2017 to 8061 in June 2021.
"We will bring back Armed Response Teams," he says. "The Government is refusing to bring back Armed Response Teams, with the Police Minister saying that the 'communities she represents' do not want them.
Police Minister Poto Williams last month refused to back the idea of arming police over concerns for Māori and Pacific communities being targeted.
"I'm speaking for the Maori and Pacific communities for whom their interactions with the police over the years have not been that great."