“Being nice to gangs because they’re victims of colonisation hasn’t worked – Labour’s real-world experiment has proved that,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor’s report on gangs blames colonisation, crime against gang members, and the idea that society has rejected them.

“On colonisation, the report says:

‘NZ’s colonial history is highlighted as a starting point for our Māori gang membership.’
‘And, while we know that there is no ethnic group that is more or less inclined toward gang membership alone, contexts such as our colonial history are significant.’
‘For example, factors suggested to increase pressures toward gang membership among colonised peoples include alienation from ancestral lands, loss of indigenous language and culture, marginalisation within the colonising culture and racial discrimination.’
‘Specific to our NZ context colonisation, marginalisation, and assimilation are viewed as drivers of Māori gang membership.’

“The process of colonisation ended in the late 1800s. Yet according to this report gangs didn’t start emerging until the 1950s. Why the huge time lag? If the two are linked, gangs should have appeared much earlier. It’s just another excuse for bad behaviour.

“Elsewhere, the report labels gang members victims of crime and says they’ve been rejected by society. There’s no call for gangs to take responsibility for the fact they’re terrorising communities.

“The report attempts to claim that if only the authorities are nice to gangs and treat them as friends, they'll start being nice back. But Labour has subjected New Zealanders to a real-world experiment and gangs don't improve their behaviour; in fact they get worse.

“Massive changes in education, welfare, and the economy are required. The education system doesn’t educate people, the welfare system rewards idleness, the economy isn’t producing enough jobs or high enough wages, and the justice system isn’t arresting enough gang members. It’s no wonder people are attracted to gangs under those conditions.

“Government has failed over many decades and real change is needed on 14 October.”

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