- By Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga
Last week, National Party leader Christopher Luxon announced National’s plan to tackle crime and curtail the growth of gangs around the country should we be elected to Government at next year’s election.
Over the last five years under Labour, crime rates have increased and violent crime has become of increasing concern in every corner of the country.
In just the last few weeks we have had daily reports of gun violence with at least 23 drive-by shootings taking place in Auckland over a two week period including one in Howick.
This is leaving Aucklanders feeling unsafe and confirms that Labour’s soft-on-crime approach has completely failed. Their idealistic view that being nice to criminals somehow stops them from committing crimes has only put us at greater risk.
New Zealanders deserve to feel safe, particularly in their own homes and this just hasn’t been the case for far too many.
In the last five years we’ve seen an 11 per cent increase in homicides, a 21 per cent increase in violent crime, a 31 per cent increase in assaults and gangs recruiting at faster rates than police, with more than 2000 new gang members and only 1300 new police officers.
It’s clear that police simply do not have the resources or support they require from the Government to adequately keep us safe. Police are doing the best they can, but morale is low and we must do more to help.
National has always been tough on crime and it’s no fluke that lower crime rates and safer communities tend to coincide with National Governments.
If elected next year, there are four new tools we will provide police to better crack down on gangs:
- We will ban gang patches and insignia in public spaces, removing a key tactic commonly used to intimidate innocent people.
- We will provide police with the power to issue dispersal notices to anyone they reasonably suspect is associated with a gang, allowing them to break up gang gatherings more easily.
- We will also provide police with the ability to issue Consorting Prohibition Notices, preventing gang members from associating or communicating with other gang members.
- Finally, and most importantly, police will be given the tools they need to stop gang members from accessing firearms by issuing Firearm Prohibition Orders, something I attempted to introduce through a Members Bill last year only for the Government to vote it down.
It’s important too that we tackle the long-term drivers of crime and not just the day-to-day threats that criminals and gangs pose to public safety.
National will bring back the long-term social investment approach to ensure resources are targeted where they can do the most good, instead of just throwing money in the general direction of every problem like the current Labour Government.
We will also address slipping education standards and better manage our stagnating economy, to give all Kiwis greater opportunities to succeed and thrive.
It is a long-term challenge and it will take time and hard work to show results but National is ready to get New Zealand back on track.