“Labour’s soft on crime approach has seen gangs become emboldened and more violent gun crime on our streets,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Data released to ACT via written parliamentary questions shows that firearms offences committed by gang members on the National Gang List increased by 26.3 per cent from 2018 to 2020.

“The numbers of offences have stayed high over 2021/22, despite ACT previously revealing Labour has been desperately removing people from the National Gang List over the past 20 months.

“These stats are just further proof that Labour’s rushed gun laws that came into effect in 2019 were totally pointless. Gun crime has gotten considerably worse since they passed them.

“Only ACT opposed the laws at the time because we said they went after law-abiding New Zealanders while gangs would hang on to their guns. This is exactly what has happened.

“The Government hasn’t learnt from its mistakes though. They’re now working on a gun register, which in reality will only apply to law-abiding firearms owners while the gangs will see it as a list they can acquire to show them where more guns are.

“We need to get smarter. ACT would hit the gangs where they hurt.

“Under our proposal, if an illegal firearm is found in the possession of a known gang member at a property where an illegal operation is taking place, authorities will not be required to meet the current tests. The discovery of an illegal firearm can be used to fast-track the seizure of assets.

“This law change could already be in motion, but Labour voted down my Member’s Bill to do this in May 2022.

“We have also proposed Gang Control Orders that would allow Police to apply to the courts for an injunction against an individual on the National Gang List.

“The reality is that the Police know where the gangs are, they know who is committing the crimes but they aren’t being supported to go after them. Why are they not deploying their Armed Offenders Squads and raiding the gang pads, removing the illegally held firearms and holding criminals to account?

“The gangs are not interested in talking, they are interested in their tribal warfare and innocent people are being caught up in their abusive behaviours. They’re not going to pay attention to a bureaucratic gun register either. It’s time to allow Police to protect our communities by going after the gangs hard.”

Table from WPQ 19678 here.

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Nicole McKee