National police spokesperson Mark Mitchell's push for New Zealand to follow Australia in banning gang patches

National's Mark Mitchell has slammed gangs as nothing but "negative and bad" for the country as he pushes for New Zealand to follow Australia's lead on gang patches. 

The National Party has long been pushing to ban gang patches in public as part of a crackdown on organised crime. 

"It's deeply intergenerational now… I don't want kids growing up in the gang environment," Mitchell said. 

"If you choose to be in a gang then life's going to be much harder. If you want to leave, I will be the first one to step beside them and say, 'How do we help you get some training, get into a job, re-join society and raise your kids in a positive way?'" 

National announced on Thursday it will introduce new legislation in its first 100 days in office, if elected, that cracks down on gangs. 

The legislation includes banning gang patches and insignia in public, enabling police officers to issue dispersal notices to suspected gang public gatherings and consorting prohibition notices to prevent known gang offenders from associating for up to three years. National also wants to introduce new Firearms Prohibition Orders to prevent gang members from possessing firearms and allowing warrantless searches of their homes and vehicles. 

Appearing on Newshub Nation on Saturday, Mitchell - National's police spokesperson - took aim at the situation in Ōpōtiki earlier this year where hundreds of gang members descended on the town after the death of the Mongrel Mob Barbarians president. 

Mitchell, a former cop who has policed in Ōpōtiki, said the town was basically under "siege" and schools were forced to close. 

He said if National was in charge police officers would run roadblocks and gang members would have their patches and guns taken off them. 

"The police, under National, will go in and make sure the community feel that they are running the town," he said. "The police will not be running traffic control for the gangs while law-abiding members of the community are held up at checkpoints." 

As for de-patching gang members, Mitchell said he wants New Zealand to go into as much detail as Australia. He said if gang members are in public with patches on and refuse to take them off when asked by police they will be arrested and the patches will be "forcefully" removed. 

"If there are 9000 gang members in New Zealand, there will be 9000 patches coming off," Mitchell said. 

However, there have been concerns that cracking down on gang patches will drive the gangs underground. 

Former police negotiator Lance Burdett told AM last year the anti-consorting laws National are proposing are working in Australia, but warned the problem Australia is now facing is that banning patches is making it harder for police to identify members.  

"It drives gangs underground and they no longer wear patches but they're still there." 

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