“Labour has finally accepted the logic ACT has been promoting for years, if you want to tackle the gangs you need to hit them where they hurt – their wallets,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Labour is finally expected to introduce legislation to make it easier to seize gang members’ assets, four months after it voted down ACT’s bill doing exactly that and more than a year since Labour said they would start working on it in May 2021.

“If you take the profit out of gangs then you take away the incentive. If there’s money to be made they’ll find a way around law enforcement. If there’s no money to be made they’ll give up

“In the months since Labour voted ACT’s bill down, there have been countless accounts of gang violence. If they could have put politics to the side and focussed on safer communities then we could be four months closer to tackling the gang problem.

“When voting down ACT’s bill Labour MP and Chair of the Justice Select Committee Ginny Anderson described making it easier for police to find assets as “half-hearted ‘looking like we’re tough but can’t deliver’ antics”. I wonder if she is saying the same thing now?

“ACT exists to provide common sense policy solutions. Labour has tried coddling the gangs, they’ve tried giving them money, and they’ve tried pretending the issues don’t exist, now the problem has gotten out of control and they’re coming round to ideas ACT has already proposed in Parliament.

“Even now their proposal could be improved further by reducing the thresholds to freeze and seize upon finding an illegally held firearm at the time of doing a raid.

“ACT has been the most proactive party this term on gang policy. We’ve also proposed Gang Injunction Orders, turning Inland Revenue on the gangs, and implementing electronically monitored spending for gang members on welfare.

“We need to make sure that gang members aren’t coming out of prison to a fortune created by a life of crime. If we want real change to New Zealand’s gang problem we need to take away their profits.

“Labour’s soft on crime approach over the past few years has seen gangs become emboldened and more violent gun crime on our streets. It’s a shame that things have had to get this bad before they’ve finally taken some action.

“ACT will keep proposing positive solutions to ensure all New Zealanders feel safe and that we have real change.”

More from

Nicole McKee