MP blames gang shootings on “soft-on-crime” approach

Armed police at the scene of a shooting in Bleakhouse Road, Mellons Bay. Times photo Wayne Martin

Gang warfare is spreading into east Auckland with two houses in Flat Bush and Mellons Bay being shot at by armed offenders in recent days.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says the Labour Government’s “soft-on-crime” approach is to blame, but the Government says its investment in law and order “has made a difference”.

The incidents this week are believed to be the result of tensions between the Tribesmen and Killer Beez gangs.

Detective inspector Warrick Adkin of Counties Manukau Police’s criminal investigation branch said on May 25 officers had responded to seven firearm incidents across the city during the previous night.

They were in Flat Bush, Otara, Papatoetoe, Papakura, Mt Albert, Henderson and Te Atatu.

The Flat Bush incident happened in Glen Osborne Terrace and was reported to police at about 6.50pm, a police spokesperson told the Times.

“Police are not aware of any injuries at this stage,” Adkin says of the multiple shootings.

“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the specific circumstances around what has taken place and any potential links between the incidents.

“We want to reassure the community we are treating these incidents very seriously and police staff are on the ground providing reassurance at each location.

“It is extremely fortunate no one has been harmed in these incidents and we know the community will be as disgusted as we are by this callous behaviour.

“These offenders have shown blatant disregard for the safety of our communities by their indiscriminate and reckless use of firearms in public.

“We ask people to call police immediately on 111 if they hear or see anything concerning in their neighbourhood.”

The most recent shooting that’s believed to be part of the gang tensions happened in Bleakhouse Road, Mellons Bay, on Wednesday night.

“Police received reports just before 9pm that a firearm had been discharged in the direction of the residential property,” Adkin says.

“No injuries have been reported at this stage. 

“Enquires are ongoing to establish the circumstances of what has occurred, including a review of available CCTV footage.

“Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 105, quoting event number 220525/2198.

“Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Brown, whose Pakuranga electorate incorporates Mellons Bay, says the shooting in Bleakhouse Road is “far too close to home for many [people] who live in a street which is known as a great place to live and raise a family”.

“It is only just a matter of time before someone is wounded or killed by the out-of-control gang warfare we are seeing in Auckland.

“This Government’s soft-on-crime approach isn’t working and New Zealanders know it.

“I’ve had enough. My constituents have had enough. New Zealanders have had enough.

“It’s time for action against gangs and their illegal guns.”

The Government recently announced it was investing $94 million toward tackling gangs and organised crime as part of Budget 2022.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi says: “Our investment in law and order has made a difference.

“Since we took office, we have 1,411 more police on the frontline – the highest number in our history, youth crime has decreased and there are 3,083 fewer people in our prisons. But there is more to do.

“In recent years we have seen increases in gun crime, gang activity and even more recently some forms of youth offending that puts both our communities and our police at risk and we must address that.

“Our response needs to address the root causes of crime, especially when it relates to young people, provide more rehabilitation to reduce reoffending, and actively pursue and prosecute those who participate in illegal gang activity.”