Opposition to National's new drugs crackdown policy targeting gangs

By Heta Gardiner

The Māori Party and Green Party both oppose National's new drugs crackdown policy that would see legislation aimed specifically at gangs. The policy is designed to help counter the use and distribution of the drug P.

Co-leader James Shaw says, "National are dog-whistling to a conservative audience."

If re-elected, National will invest $82 million over four years in initiatives designed to tackle methamphetamine with a range of tough measures to clamp down hard on organised crime and drug dealers.

These measures include giving police new powers to search the cars and houses of the most serious criminal gang members at any time to ensure they don't have firearms through new Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) and to impose new obligations on gang members on a benefit so that if they can't justify expensive assets, they can have their benefit cancelled or be declined a benefit.

James Shaw says, "They’re using policy suggestions that have been proven not to work."

The Māori Party says there could be an issue about rights should gangs be targeted.

Te Ururoa Flavell says, "I don't see if there will be any benefit from this policy. The human rights element is also in question."

The co-leader also says giving police free reign to go into anyone's house will lead to problems.

He says, "In the past, we have had problems with police going into communities without cause, so I don't support that."

We requested an interview with Police Minister Paula Bennett on this issue, but we were told the minister was unavailable.