Reformed gang member says Government's crackdown 'doesn't seem practical'

The Government has confirmed details of its crackdown on gangs despite questions about its legality.

Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell want to ban gang insignia in public places and stop gang members from gathering in groups and communicating.

The Government says it has gangs in its clutches. Police Minister Mark Mitchell looked on as motorbikes linked to the Comancheros gang were crushed and even filmed with a soundtrack.

"We understand the risk that those bikes could fall back into the wrong hands and so the right course here was to destroy them and send a clear signal about what happens when you profit from illegal activity," Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said.

Now the new coalition Government wants to get tougher still on gangs - which, it says, have recruited 3000 new members in five years - alongside an escalation in gang-related violence, public intimidation and shootings, with violent crime up 33 percent.

"For too long gangs have been allowed to behave as if they are above the law. They are not. This Government is determined to restore law and order," Goldsmith said.

But reformed gang member Eugene Ryder, who's now a social worker, says it's the same old, same old that has been tried unsuccessfully since the 70s.

"If they're committing criminal acts then yes that should happen but making someone a criminal because of their association or because of their choice of clothing doesn't seem practical and I'm sure police have better things to do," he told Newshub. 

"This is the problem - people think that we should wave the white flag and say there's part of our society that can that is above the law and that can break the law. We're saying that's not the case," Mitchell said.

Gang insignia were banned in schools, hospitals and public buildings in 2013, now the Government wants them banned everywhere in public.

Those caught breaking the rule could face a fine of $5000 or up to six months imprisonment.

"Yes, we are responding to a call from the public as a whole for clearer consequences for crime and for a more robust approach to gangs and that's what we'll be delivering here," Goldsmith said.

However Labour has warned the Government's focus on gang wardrobes is "not good policy".

"Hitting gangs in the pocket is what hurts them the most. We need to be taking their money, their assets and their jackets," Labour's Police spokesperson Ginny Andersen said.

The Government is promising to table the Bill before Parliament within days alongside a report from Attorney-General Judith Collins on its legality.