Government cracking down on gangs with firearm prohibition orders

The Government says it's further cracking down on gangs, continuing its plans to go after their illegal firearms.

The coalition Government previously announced in its 100-day plan to beef up the police's powers, including to seize weapons, cash, and vehicles. 

It came as part of a major crime crackdown following a recent string of "brazen gang activities".

In continuing that work, Associate Minister of Justice (Firearms) Nicole McKee - an ACT Party MP - on Friday announced new measures that will enable police to crack down on gangs through firearms prohibition orders (FPOs).

"Firearms are being illegally used by gangs to intimidate, to commit violent crime in support of their profit-making, and to initiate gang warfare that law-abiding citizens get stuck in the middle of," she said.

"This can't be allowed to continue, this Government is going to take their illegally held firearms off them.

"Keeping firearms out of the hands of gang members and high-risk offenders is needed to ensure public safety."

The changes mean the courts will be able to issue orders to any member or associate of a gang that has been convicted of a significant offence.

But McKee added: "The Bill also amends the FPO regime to allow people subject to an order to apply to the court after five years to have their FPO varied, modified, or revoked.

"If someone can demonstrate that they no longer pose a risk to public safety, then they should be treated as such, but if they continue with their antisocial behaviour and put others in harm then it is in the public's interest to make sure they can't get their hands on more illegal firearms.

"The Government's first job is to keep law-abiding New Zealanders safe from criminals. These changes will make New Zealand a safer place."