Monday, 31 May 2021

Engagement with gangs a key priority for Labour

Associate Justice Minister Willie Jackson has been told by the Prime Minister one of his key focusses should be ‘engagement with gangs,’ says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Willie Jackson is taking on that role with gusto, meeting with Black Power three times and the Mongrel Mob at least once since becoming Minister.

“When the Prime Minister hands out portfolios to Ministers they are given with a focus area. Mr Jackson’s says ‘Working with the Minister of Justice on the criminal justice reform programme, with a specific focus on engagement with Māori, youth justice and gangs.’ 

“The fact that Willie Jackson met with patched Black Power member Eugene Ryder three times and visited the Mongrel Mob in the Waikato shows exactly where this Government’s loyalties lie… with dangerous criminals instead of law abiding New Zealanders.

“This week gang members intimidated members of the public in Hawke’s Bay by driving them off the road. Gangs intimidate people, carry out violence and carry illegal firearms. We can’t stand for this sort of behaviour.

“New Zealanders want the Government to stand up to violence and intimidation, we should be arresting gang members, not having cups of tea with them.  

“This follows Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Minister Marama Davidson meeting with the Mongrel Mob twice last month, including giving a presentation at their gang pad.

“Gang numbers have increased by 50 percent since 2017, from 5343 to 8006. Instead of doing something, Ministers are playing nice with the gangs. 

“ACT would hit the gangs where it hurts, in their pockets. Our policy increases the power of police to seize assets connected with gang activity and illegal firearms owned by gang members by introducing a new threshold for Police to seize assets. The threshold to seize assets would now be triggered if a gang member was found with an illegal firearm therefore committing an offence.

“If we don’t stand up to the gangs now, it’s only a matter of time before an innocent member of the public gets caught in the cross fire.”

Links to Willie Jackson’s meetings: