“Labour is out of its depth when it comes to law and order, with the Prime Minister and the Police Minister not across the details of Police’s plan to target organised crime,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Government has taken its eye off the ball. Rather than protecting New Zealanders from exploding gang violence, it’s focused on issues like hate speech, conversion therapy, and Māori wards.

“I asked the Prime Minister about Operation Tauwhiro in Parliament yesterday. Jacinda Ardern never misses an opportunity to market her Government, but it took her until today to reveal that the operation would have an increased emphasis on search and surveillance. It’s clear the PM had no idea when asked yesterday.

ACT’s Firearms Law Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee also questioned Police Minister Poto Williams in the House.

“The Police Minister gave several bumbling answers but was unable to reveal when she was first told of Operation Tauwhiro, how many police officers would be involved, or what the operation would achieve.

“Today’s performance paints of picture of a government that has taken its eye off law and order.

“New figures show that the gangs are recruiting 10 times faster than Police. Since October 2017, the number of gang members on the National Gang List has increased by 2,264, but there are just 239 new Police officers investigating organised crime.

“The Government should pick up ACT’s proposal to amend the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act so that if Police find illegal firearms at an unlawful, gang-run operation their assets can be seized.

“ACT’s proposal would hit gangs where it hurts. Labour is out of its depth when it comes to law and order and I urge them to take our plan seriously.”

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