Texts between former Police Minister Stuart Nash and Police Commissioner Andrew Coster released

Former police minister Stuart Nash urged senior police leadership to meet with gang leaders and "bang their heads together" during the response to Cylone Gabrielle.

Communications between Nash and police commissioner Andrew Coster have been released to RNZ.

In one text message, sent on 19 February to Coster and Eastern District Commander Jeanette Park, Nash suggested deputy police commissioner Wally Haumaha was sent to Hawke's Bay.

At the time, Hawke's Bay residents were calling for a greater police presence in the region amid reports of intruders at damaged properties.

The government was also publicly downplaying claims of a crime spike in Hawke's Bay.

"Get him to sit down with the gang leaders and bang their bloody heads together and get them to stop this sh**. It's pretty serious," Nash said in the message.

He also suggested 50 more officers should be deployed to Hawke's Bay.

"Allow us to both announce tomorrow that 50 more officers will be deployed to the region on top of the 100 already here."

Nash prefaced the text by saying he was not sending it in his capacity as police minister.

The next day, Coster responded to Nash and said Haumaha had "some useful engagement at his meetings today".

"No silver bullet, but positive opportunities for ongoing discussion and, hopefully, deescalation," Coster said.

Nash told RNZ he sent the 19 February text message as the local MP for Napier.

"This was in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle when there was no power or comms and the rumours re gang violence and looting were rife - but ultimately way out of proportion," Nash told RNZ.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the text made it clear Nash was speaking as the local Napier MP.

"The text was a request, not an instruction.

"Given the concerns of the community at the time it was not unreasonable for Stuart as the local MP to advocate for them" the spokesperson said.

Nash resigned as police minister in March after criticising a judicial decision, and phoning the police commissioner about it.

He was later stripped of all his ministerial portfolios, after it was revealed he sent an email containing confidential Cabinet information to two men who had donated to his campaigns.

Nash will retire from politics at October's election.