Winston Peters references Auckland CBD shooting in call for 'justice, common sense' to be returned to NZ

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has referenced this week's deadly Auckland CBD shooting in calling for the return of "justice and common sense" to the country.

Addressing a large crowd at his party's election campaign launch, the former deputy Prime Minister questioned how 24-year-old Matu Reid was able to get hold of a shotgun while serving a punishment of home detention.

"But even worse, how did someone sentenced for choking someone almost to death receive just five months home detention?" Peters asked during his speech.

He said the courts were "failing" New Zealanders with "soft sentences that put community safety last and offenders' rights and excuses first".

Peters said these "judicial failures" warranted an inquiry and said New Zealanders wanted to see "justice and common sense returned to our country".

"New Zealand First says anyone who is a threat to the safety of our community shouldn’t be on our streets," Peters said. 

He lampooned other political parties' "shouting" about law and order as being "like a drunk person leaning against an evening lamp post a night - for support not illumination".

Peters promoted two NZ First law and order policies - designating gangs as terrorist organisations and establishing a dedicated gang prison.

He said the perpetrators of all crime - whether it be "gang collar, blue collar or white collar" - would be treated the same.

"Most importantly, to address the causes of crime we have policies to address real needs – such as enforcing compulsory education, making housing including public housing affordable for ordinary families, make health care available for people who need it, and getting people, who have spent years on the dole, back to work."

Elsewhere in the speech, Peters announced NZ First would adjust tax income brackets to inflation and exempt basic foods, like fresh food, vegetables, meat, dairy and fish, from GST during the cost of living crisis.

Details on how much that would cost or for how long the GST exemption would last were not found in Peters' speech. He said details would be announced over the next two months.

He also said NZ First would stop spending on the Auckland light rail project and direct that money towards health items like emergency departments and aged residential care, while also ditching the current Pharmac model.

The NZ First leader also took aim at other topics like what he called "secret social engineering" by including gender content in education curriculum and opposing "separatism" in policy and law.

"We support the right of New Zealanders to disagree with Government policy and not be punished for it," said Peters.

"And we are never going to work in Parliament with any political party whose policies threaten those fundamental rights."

Peters' speech comes just a few days after the Auckland shooting tragedy.

Reid killed two civilians on Thursday when he rampaged his way through a downtown Auckland construction site with a pump-action shotgun. After reaching the upper levels of the building, he barricaded himself in an elevator shaft and exchanged fire with responding police. He was shortly afterwards found dead.

As of Saturday, four people remained in hospital receiving care for injuries, including a police officer.

Corrections has launched a review of Reid's management to "identify any action we can take to help prevent a horrific tragedy like this from happening again" while Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Thursday said questions would be asked about how Reid got his gun and if there were any flags that could have signalled earlier that this could happen.

Reid was sentenced to five months of home detention in March for a raft of family violence offences in March.

According to Corrections, he was subject to numerous conditions, including that he was in frequent contact with staff and participate in non-violence and drug and alcohol programmes. He had reported to his probation officer the day before the attack.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said on Thursday that Reid didn't have a firearms licence and had permission to work at the site where the attack occurred. Checks of his property had previously been undertaken and a firearm had never been found. 

Reports on Reid say a cultural report taken into account during his sentencing show he had a difficult background, with a history of being exposed to abuse and mental health issues.

"I do not want to send a young man like you, with a limited history, to prison. I think it would be counterproductive and actually set you down the wrong path," Stuff reported Judge Steve Bonnar as saying.

"But you need to realise, Mr Reid, you need to turn your life around from here because if you commit further offences of violence in the future, things are just going to get worse and you could well end up going to jail."