Police Minister Mark Mitchell blasts Head Hunters gang's donation to fire brigade, says it's an attempt to improve reputation

The Police Minister is blasting the Head Hunters gang's recent donation.
The Police Minister is blasting the Head Hunters gang's recent donation. Photo credit: Getty Images / Newshub

Police Minister Mark Mitchell is blasting the Head Hunters gang's donation of thousands of dollars to a volunteer fire brigade.  

Talking to the media on Wednesday, Mitchell said it's an example of gangs trying to improve their reputation.  

It comes after the Government's proposal to ban gang patches in public spaces and give police officers more power to stop members congregating.  

"The gangs know there is a lot of heat coming their way. They know that we're serious about suppressing them and getting on top of gang-related violence, and I would say that this is probably a response to try and do some sort of PR," Mitchell said. 

He added receiving donations from criminal organisations should be avoided "at all costs because you do not know where that money comes from".  

He described the gang's donation as an attempt to improve their reputation amid a Government crackdown.  

"The gangs are quite sophisticated now in how they run their public relations," he said. "I think that this is probably very clearly an example of that."  

The Wellsford brigade refused to comment and referred Newshub to Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).  

A FENZ spokesperson told Newshub the organisation "does not support volunteer fire brigades accepting donations from parties associated with organised crime groups".  

"We will be conveying this clear message to all our people," the spokesperson said. 

FENZ said most volunteer fire brigades, including the Wellsford brigade, are separate legal entities and receive donations in an "independent capacity".  

"We will be working with the brigade to assist them with [the] next steps."