National outlines tough new measures to curb gangs

The National Party has proposed tough new laws to curb the power of gangs that include non-consorting laws. 

Christopher Luxon made the announcement on Saturday at the party's Northern Regional Conference. 

“New Zealanders are waking up daily to news of gang shootings and the only question is not if or when there’ll be another, but whose street it will be in next time,” Luxon said at the conference.

 “Gangs are currently recruiting more quickly than Police. During the five years of this Labour Government, gangs have so far added more than 2000 new members, while Police have added 1300 officers.

He told the conference the measures wouldn't only be punitive but would include a social investment approach.

He said National would help steer at-risk young people in a direction that would give them the chance of a more positive and productive life.

Luxon gave a clear message to gang members in New Zealand - "My Government will not stand for it" and he reassured the public National will be on their side and protect them.  

The four main points are: 

Banning gang patches and insignia in public

This occurs already in government buildings like hospitals and courts. National would extend these rules to every public space. Patches are about intimidation, and are given only to people who have committed a violent crime to show loyalty to a gang. 

Stopping gang members gathering in public

Police will have the power to issue dispersal notices to anyone they reasonably suspect of being a gang member or gang prospect. Once issued, gang members would be required to immediately leave a public area and not associate in public with one another for seven days.

Stopping gang offenders associating with each other

Gang crimes don’t just happen; they are co-ordinated and planned. Police will be able to issue Consorting Prohibition Notices if they need to in order to stop known gang offenders committing serious offences. Once issued, those gang members will not be allowed to associate or communicate with one another for up to three years.

Stopping gang members accessing guns

National will give Police the power to issue Firearms Prohibition Orders. These could be issued against any gang member who in the last 10 years has been convicted of a serious offence, and would make it illegal for that person to access firearms or enter certain premises where firearms are present.  Police would have the power to search people who are subject to a Firearms Prohibition Order, and search their premises or vehicles for firearms at any time.

“These are four practical tools that would help Police who are facing a growing challenge on New Zealand’s streets," Luxon told the audience. 

“The scenes we’ve witnessed recently in Auckland and other places are alarming law-abiding New Zealanders.

“We don’t have to put up with it, and we shouldn’t.