National MP Simeon Brown attacks Government over lack of transparency with COVID-19 in gangs

National's police spokesperson Simeon Brown is attacking the Government for its lack of transparency over COVID-19 in gangs in Auckland. 

Head Hunters gang members appeared to flout alert level 3 rules with a funeral procession through west Auckland involving dozens of cars on Friday.

A Te Atatu local said she saw a hearse travelling down Te Atatu Rd on Friday morning with more than 50 cars following, heading to Waikumete Cemetery in Henderson. 

"There was loud music and patched Head Hunters gang members hanging out of all of the cars," she said.

"Last I checked, I didn't think you could have funerals - or you could with 10 people. But of the 50 cars they were just jam-packed with people, clearly flouting the rules." 

Under alert level 3 regulations, funerals and tangihanga are allowed, but are limited to 10 people.

Brown isn't holding back in his criticism of the Government over its handling of the situation.

"I think Aucklanders are feeling pretty gutted right now because everyone is still locked in their homes and locked down and what we are seeing here is continued flouting of the rules by gang members," Brown tells Newshub.

"This is something that is setting us all back. The reality is, we all have to follow the rules. 

"No one is above the law and in this situation we should be making sure we held them to account."

The National Party MP wants to see more consistency around the Government's handling of COVID in gangs compared to other groups in the community.  

"I'm not sure what the Government is doing, they've been very cagey around the whole situation  of the fact that COVID is clearly in the gang community in Auckland and they aren't being transparent with Aucklanders around it," he says. 

"We've heard about the Birkdale social group and Mangere Church but they're refusing to give any details around what the situation is with COVID in the gangs. The question many Aucklanders are asking is 'are we still in level 3 because of the situation of COVID in the gang and the fact they continue to breach our COVID rules'.

"They have been able to label other clusters where COVID has been transmitted but the reality is we have a Government which has been cuddling up to the gangs over recent months and this is something I think many Aucklanders, in particular, are very concerned that it is in the gangs."

Brown wants the Government to assure New Zealanders that they are holding gang members to the same standards everyday Kiwis face. 

"I think the assurances Aucklanders and all New Zealanders want to know is that our gang members are being treated equally in terms of the compliance to the rules and they're being held to account when there is no compliance, just like the Government and Police are taking firm action when it comes to others who are breaching the COVID rules," Brown tells Newshub. 

This comes after the Ministry of Health announced another 27 new cases of COVID 19 - all in Auckland - on Saturday as the Government prepares to make a decision on Auckland's alert level status on Monday.