“Reports that the Government will ‘hit gangs where it hurts’ could have been taken straight off the policy page of ACT’s website. In fact, they should just take my Member’s Bill that’s ready to go,” says ACT Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“The rules of Parliament mean that the Government can adopt a Member’s Bill as its own. I have written to Justice Minister Kris Faafoi asking that he adopt my very bill. I hope he will accept the meeting soon.

“Businesses in New Zealand pay around 30 per cent of their income in various taxes, but The Herald reports only eight per cent of criminal proceeds are confiscated from gangs. Lots of businesses would love it if the Government took only eight per cent.

“Better still, the gangs should be registered with Inland Revenue for their drug dealing, like every legitimate business. Of course, that’s not going to happen, so we need to go after them in other ways.

“ACT has always backed its policies with good economics. Gangs are growing because it’s a profitable business. Young people without much hope get dragged in by the gold-rimmed motorbikes funded by dealing meth. If you want to reduce gang membership and gang violence, you must make the thug life less profitable.

“My Member’s Bill, the The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) (Definition of Significant Criminal Activity) Amendment Bill, would do exactly what we now know the Government is planning. It would declare open season on the assets of any gangster on the national gang list who is found with an illegal firearm committing a crime.

“In fact, ACT’s policy is better than what the Government appears to be proposing. There need to be safeguards around the state taking just anyone’s property. ACT’s policy focuses only on those who are registered as being in a gang, and who have illegal firearms.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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