Monday, 7 September 2020

ACT will tackle P with seized gang money

“ACT would tackle methamphetamine with money and assets seized from gangs,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“National’s plan announced today is a step in the right direction, but it must be funded, and ACT has the solution.

“Earlier this year, ACT proposed changing the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act to make it easier for Police to seize gang assets. We would ring-fence the proceeds from this law change and put them towards disrupting the supply of meth and reducing the harm it does.

“Law-abiding New Zealanders pay a third of their income in tax. Under ACT’s policy, the government could take at least that much off gangs dealing illegal drugs. By ‘taxing’ gangs a third, we’d collect enough money to pick up the pieces of the harm they cause.

“A third of all meth sales is $170 million, enough to fund the scheme. At the moment, Police are only taking $50 million a year, and the meth trade is $500 million. Right now, the gangs are only paying 10 percent.

“Gangs selling illegal drugs should pay their fair share until they go out of business for good. Under ACT’s plan, it will be open season on their assets and they will pay. It’s only right that money and assets seized from gangs are directed towards undoing the harm criminals have done in our communities.

ACT would change the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act so that if a Police search finds:

• an illegal operation (e.g. drug manufacturing for supply or money laundering), and
• the unlawful possession of a firearm, and
• a person who is either a gang member or is closely affiliated,

it can apply to the courts for an order to seize the operation’s assets.

“Currently, Police need meet a number of tests before it can apply to the courts to seize assets under the Act. That includes proving a link between illicit money and the purchasing of assets, and proof of drug manufacturing or money laundering at a value of more than $30,000. Police often wait until the suspected value is much higher as an offence is then easier to prove.

“Under our proposal, if an illegal firearm is found in the possession of a known gang member at a property where an illegal operation is taking place, authorities will not be required to meet the current tests. The discovery of an illegal firearm can be used to fast-track the seizure of assets.

“ACT will hit the gangs where it hurts and undo the damage they are doing in our communities.”