Christopher Luxon says he doesn't care what Harry Tam thinks of Government's new gang policies

The Prime Minister is defending the Government's plan to crack down on gangs, despite it being called a "laughable PR stunt."  

Te Pāti Māori believes the proposal, if enforced, would breach the Treaty of Waitangi and said there'd be "hell to pay" if it overreached into rangatiratanga. 

But Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said he's used to the Māori Party making such comments.  

"Oh, look, the Māori Party are prone to a lot of hyperbole and a lot of excessive statements," he told AM host Lloyd Burr on Tuesday.  

"The bottom line is this: we have had a 50 percent-plus growth in gang membership... that is not great for young people - gangs peddle misery and suffering across many New Zealand families with respect to organised crime and drugs and intimidation and fear and violence.  

"That's not something we're going to tolerate so, I'm sorry, we are going to do something different. We either try something different and get a different outcome or we just carry on doing more of the same; more increasing gang membership, more violent crime, more retail crime in New Zealand."  

On Monday, lifetime Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam also lashed out at the Government over its gang crackdown.  

"I can't help but just laugh about it, in reality, because it's so stupid," he told Newshub.  

But Luxon, shrugging his shoulders, said: "I don't care about Harry Tam, my friend... irrelevant."  

During the AM interview, Luxon was asked if he cared about the Opōtiki Māori Wardens - which also described the crackdown as laughable.  

"The Māori Wardens do a great job, we really like the work that they do," the Prime Minister said. "But the reality is this... we've had a 31 percent increase in violent crime and we campaigned on this.  

"People are over it, people want to feel safe.  

"We're going to make tough decisions and, the reality is, gangs want all the rights of being Kiwis - they're not prepared to take the responsibilities."  

Among the plans in the crackdown include a ban on gang insignia in public and police officers being granted special powers to disperse gang gatherings.