New Police Minister Chris Hipkins hints at gang crackdown, doesn't know if truce has been called between Killer Beez and Tribesmen

New Police Minister Chris Hipkins has hinted a crackdown on gangs is on the way, including potentially giving officers more powers to seize assets if members are caught with illegal guns. 

It comes after a spate of gang shootings in Auckland in the past few months as the Killer Beez and Tribesmen gangs clash over turf. 

Hipkins took over the police portfolio from under-fire Poto Williams in a Cabinet reshuffle last week. Williams was heavily criticised during her time in the role, particularly in the past few months as Auckland grappled with an increase in shootings and ram-raid burglaries. 

Speaking with AM on Tuesday, Hipkins said work is underway to crack down on gang members, but he wouldn't reveal any details. 

"I've also been having some conversations with the new Minister of Justice Kiri Allan and she and I are both looking at what more we can do in that area," he told AM. 

"We are looking to get a package of things together which we will talk about in the next few weeks so is there more we could do in that space? Yes, I think there is."

When AM host Ryan Bridge asked whether the work would give police the ability to seize gang members' assists if they're caught with illegal guns, Hipkins said it was too early to confirm anything. 

"I don't want to get into the details of what are early-stage discussions but we are aiming to progress them very quickly so I can provide absolute assurance that Minister Allan and I are going to be working closely together on those issues."

Gang crime has been an increasing concern for many residents with more than 20 shootings in the past two months alone. But over the past week, things have slowed amid a reported truce between the gangs.

When asked whether he could confirm a truce was in place, Hipkins said he's not "tapped into the communications between gangs". 

"That's not necessarily something that I would get involved with. The police at an operational level will have a lot more intel on what's going on there," he told Bridge. 

"My job as Minister of Police is to make sure they [police] have the tools they need, it's not to second guess what the police are going to be doing. They make those judgments and they do that independently of politicians and that's quite appropriate."

Cracking down on violent crime is also a priority for Allan in her new role. Speaking with RNZ last week the East Coast MP said while she's still getting her feet under the desk, her focus will be "very victim-centric". Allan also said she plans to work closely with Hipkins. 

"We'll be wanting to knock our heads together over the next couple of weeks to look whether we need to reset any direction and what that might look like," she told RNZ. 

"So I anticipate about two to three weeks in we'll probably have a pretty fulsome set of views that we'll be presenting back to our colleagues."