Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Government rejects legislation to tackle gang problem


“The Government had a practical solution handed to it on a plate that would have offered real change to tackle our rising gang problem, but has chosen to reject it,” says ACT Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“This evening my Member’s Bill, the “The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) (Definition of Significant Criminal Activity) Amendment Bill was voted down by Labour. It would have delivered the tools to crack down on gangs and illegal firearm use.

“Gang numbers have exploded under this soft on crime Government. With more gang members comes an increase in their confidence. As a result we’ve seen shootings in our communities, often in broad daylight. It’s only a matter of time before an innocent member of the public gets caught in the crossfire.

“ACT exists to provide common sense policy solutions. Sadly - the Government has looked at my Bill and answered it by closing its eyes, putting its hands over its ears and yelling “lalalalala.”

“It would rather vote down my Bill to make a political point than to take a positive solution to make our communities safer.

“The Bill increased 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. Under the definitions put in place in this Bill, the threshold to seize assets would now be triggered if a gang member was found with an illegal firearm therefore committing an offence.

“This is a tool to hit the gangs where it hurts, their wallets. Parliament has a duty and a responsibility to keep New Zealanders safe. My Bill would have done that. We need a fresh approach that will put control back in the hands of Police.

“Neither the Government’s new gun legislation, nor the confiscation of guns, has made a difference to the number of illegal firearms in circulation. Law abiding members of the firearms community have handed back their guns, but violent gang members were never going to.

“My Bill added a new tool to crackdown on the criminal activity gangs inflict on New Zealanders.
“The Government’s approach hasn’t worked. Today - it’s turned its back on a practical solution that would have helped create healthy and thriving communities. New Zealanders deserve better.”