Election 2023: Labour's gang convoy crackdown could be used for any large processions intimidating Kiwis

Labour's proposal to give police new powers to seize vehicles involved in gang convoys could be used if there is a large procession that is disrupting people's lives, the party's police spokesperson says. 

The party's policy document released on Thursday morning said the proposed changes would target gang convoys "which have an intimidation factor of their own". Police would be able to take action if there is a "breach of road laws by gang members" in two or more vehicles.  

Ginny Andersen, Labour's police spokesperson, was asked on Thursday if the proposal allowed police to seize vehicles involved in convoy-style protests, like those held by Brian Tamaki's group or by Groundswell. 

She said the new legislation is intended "for when there are large-scale convoys going through public roads and they are disrupting people's daily lives and people going about their daily business".  

Police would have discretion for when they use the legislation, Andersen said. 

Labour leader Chris Hipkins said police would "consider things like protest, for example, where people are breaking the rules". 

"Police will, and do now, consider where people are breaking the rules, if they are doing that in a form of protest, they always have discretion not to prosecute". 

Andersen said there is currently legislation allowing police to seize vehicles from fleeing drivers and under the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Act. 

But she said there have been instances where police have found it difficult to seize vehicles and prosecute with regards to large-scale organised crime convoys. 

Police can identify vehicles that have committed traffic offences through CCTV footage and then take steps to impound them, she said. 

The gang convoy crackdown came alongside a number of other policies released by Labour on Thursday. They included delivering an additional 300 frontline police officers and strengthening legal protections against stalking and harassment.