“A gang fuelled crime wave in Auckland that’s seen five drive by shootings over the weekend and a further seven at homes in South Auckland overnight shows we need urgent action on gangs,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Once upon a time gangs had an unspoken rule where they would not attack the homes of rival gangs as a sanctity of respect to the innocent women and children within those walls.

“Now there is a gun war occurring in Auckland and ACT wants to see Police getting those illegal firearms off the streets.

“ACT gave this Government an opportunity to use legislation to freeze and seize assets from gangs upon finding an illegally held firearm at a raid, but the Police Minister would not stay in the chamber long enough to even deliver a 10 minute speech explaining why she wouldn’t support it. She walked out after four minutes and being told by the speaker that she needed to bring her debate back to the Bill.

“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 injunction order would then be used to prohibit bad behaviours including being in a particular location or associating with particular people. It could also be used to require positive actions, like attending rehabilitation.

“The Government’s gun buyback has failed, it hasn’t 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.

“Police have slowly had their abilities to tackle the gangs and growing crime removed from them. Their pursuit policy means stolen cars or escaping drivers are no longer chased. Teenagers boast that they can get away with crime until they are “of age”.

“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?

“Whose child will have to die before there is an uproar that makes accountability happen. It’s about time the Police are given our full support to hit this nail on the head with a mighty big sledgehammer.

“Instead, Labour MP’s suggest we talk to them, get to know them better and see what we can do for them. 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. It’s time to allow Police to protect our communities by going after the gangs hard.”

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Nicole McKee