Lifetime Black Power member Denis O'Reilly 'disappointed' at Government's 'shallow' gang package, but Police Association supportive

Police were given a stack of new tools to tackle gangs on Wednesday, including a new offence of firing a gun to intimidate with a jail term of up to five years. 

The Government's been called soft on crime after two feuding gangs shot at a number of homes in Auckland and youth offenders committed a series of ram raids.

It cost Poto Williams her job as Police Minister and her replacement Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday: "We want to hit gangs where it hurts".

Police will get expanded search powers and more opportunities to impound cars and motorbikes. To crack down on money laundering, cash won't be able to be used to buy cars, boats, expensive watches and jewellery.

House after house shot up in a gang war - west Auckland knows it well.

"I don't feel very safe for the children walking out and about and for ourselves," one resident said.

"It has been getting out of hand, look at what's been happening lately with the Killer Beez and the Tribesmen," said another. 

"Hopefully the Government step up and does something about it aye," added a third. 

Enter the Government's new law and order duo of Hipkins and Kiri Allan.

"I don't want to drive the gangs underground and then say that's the problem solved. I want to drive their criminal activity out of the community completely," Hipkins said. 

"Hitting them where it hurts, we're going after guns, vehicles and cash," said Allan, the new Justice Minister 

They've spent a month listening to police and are keen to give them new search and seizure powers and close a legal loophole.

"So what's going on is if you have someone shooting at a house with the intention to intimidate, yes, you can charge them under a Summary of Offences for intimidation, [but] the maximum penalty? Three months. I don't think New Zealanders would be satisfied with that," Allan said.

So they want to make it illegal to intimidate someone by shooting at them, including warning shots to ward off trespassers.

"If you're going out with the intent to intimidate any person and are discharging it at them then it's up to the discretion of the police if they charge you," Allan said. 

It'll also be credit or debit only for expensive bling and boats.

"The ministers are clearly listening and they're looking to take some action and some of these things will have an impact very quickly once those laws are passed," said Police Association President Chris Cahill. 

Lifetime Black Power member and community advocate Denis O'Reilly says rubbish to that.

"I was disappointed that it was so shallow," he said. 

He said the law changes are only there to make the Government look tough on crime.

"Dumb policy is based on prejudice and jumping to conclusions, smart policy is based on evidence and we are not taking a breath and gathering the evidence."

The Green Party agrees.

"It's a knee-jerk reaction not based on evidence. They will not address the underlying causes of offending," said justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman. 

The ministers not getting support from their left, but are from the right.

"We will support them. They frankly don't go far enough," said National leader Christopher Luxon. 

The laws landing in the middle politically, while Auckland's stuck in the middle of gang crossfire.