Time to 'turn the planes around' on Australian 501 deportees amid exploding gun violence - National Māori Authority

The chair of the National Māori Authority says gang violence is out of control and it's time for the New Zealand Government to stop letting in Australian deportees.

In the past few days alone, two people have died in separate reported shootings in Auckland. A man died in an alleged homicide after reports of gunshots in the Auckland suburb of Flat Bush on Boxing Day morning. 

On Thursday, 23-year-old Brian James was fatally shot during a home invasion in Auckland's Mt Roskill. The alleged offenders have yet to be located.

National Māori Authority chair Matthew Tukaki said in a statement on Monday "these violent thugs and criminals don't care two hoots about the community".

"In my mind, there is now only one solution left - turn the planes around and make a point to the Australian government that New Zealand is not the dumping ground for your criminals." 

He said the current Labour Government and previous National Government aren't to blame for the rise in gun crime.

When it comes to why violence has risen so drastically, Tukaki said the reasons were clear.

"There have been concerns for the last several years that new gangs and chapters are getting a foothold in New Zealand because of the rising tide of returnees known as the 501's. To be frank we saw it as far back as Waikeria and we are seeing [it] now with an increase in gun-related violence in Auckland."

Deportees known as '501s' are named after the character section of the Australian Migration Act that allows the cancellation of their visas and them to be sent back to New Zealand. The majority have lived in Australia for most of their lives and have criminal records.

Matthew Tukaki.
Matthew Tukaki. Photo credit: The AM Show

A report earlier this year revealed despite New Zealand's exploding gang membership numbers, only 41 of the 2500 new members in the previous three years were Australian deportees. 

But Tukaki believed the latest spate of gun violence in New Zealand was an indicator of Australia's 501 policy. 

"They don't care about culture or tikanga they care solely about establishing their criminal enterprise - they have no or little attachment to New Zealand and many of them, while they may have been born here, have been raised in Australia," he said.

Residents of the property where the Mt Roskill home invasion took place have links to the HFK gang, the NZ Herald reported. However, no link to Australian deportees has been determined for that shooting, nor the Flat Bush incident.

Newshub has contacted the Beehive for comment.

Following the Mt Roskill shooting, Police Minister Poto Williams told Auckland City Mayor Phil Goff that more officers, including those tackling organised crime, would be deployed to the streets, RNZ reported. 

Earlier this month, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster acknowledged gangs were "inextricably linked to organised crime - there's no doubt about it".

Coster also pointed blame at 501s.

Andrew Coster.
Andrew Coster. Photo credit: Getty Images

"The gang environment has significantly changed as a result of returned offenders," he told Parliament's annual review of the police. "That has led to the seeding of new groups. 

"Our approach has seen more charges laid and more apprehensions than we've seen in the past. The rates at which we are charging gang offenders is increasing and it is reflecting the serious history that some of those people bring."