Politicians oppose new gang action plan

By Heta Gardiner

There is strong opposition to the government's new gang action plan which aims to tackle illegal gang activity.

The government is celebrating its new initiatives. But the Greens say, the government's money and focus is better spent elsewhere.

“Where is the plan for pay equality? Where is the plan for education? Where is the plan for unemployment? Those are the real issues they should be focusing on,” says Green MP, Marama Davidson.

The government's Gang Action Plan has seen a lot of opposition amongst politicians, since its introduction earlier this week. A lot of the heat is aimed at one of the key areas of the plan, to monitor gang members and their families more closely.  

Māori Party MP Marama Fox says, “It's true that many of these people are involved in criminal activity, but to look at the whole family? Affiliation with these people makes one open to more monitoring by the government, really?”

According to the Minister of Corrections and Police, Judith Collins it's needed, “Is it fair to be monitoring the whole family as opposed to just the gang member themselves? You know what it really is because those people now, those family members now, are generally subject some of the most extreme cases of family violence there is.”

Along with the Gang Intelligence Centre, there are three other significant pieces of work.

  • A programme to refocus existing social initiatives and develop new programmes, to address the intergenerational nature of gang life.
  • Task forces that will target drug trafficking networks.
  • And strengthening current legislation.

“It's about disrupting gang activity, it's about having better information, understanding what's going on in gang families.” says Collins.

The minister also alluded to the millions of dollars, gang members are receiving through benefits.

“The amount that these beneficiaries are getting is minimal,” says Davidson.

This initiative is already being implemented around the country.