Saturday, April 13, 2024

New gangs law introduced to Parliament

The Government has today introduced legislation which will give Police additional tools to pursue gangs who, it says, inflict fear and misery on everyday Kiwis.

Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith says gangs have recruited more than 3,000 members over the last five years – a 51% increase on previous years.

Meanwhile, gang-related violence, public intimidation and shootings have significantly escalated, with violent crime up 33%, he said.

“That is why, as part of the National, ACT and NZ First coalition agreement, the Government will ban all gang insignia in public places, create greater powers to stop criminal gangs associating and communicating, and give greater weight to gang membership at sentencing.”

“Police will be able to issue dispersal notices, which will require gang members to immediately leave the area and not associate with one another for seven days. 

“Courts will be able to issue non-consorting orders, which will stop specified gang offenders from associating or communicating for up to three years.”

The law will also be changed to give greater weight to gang membership as an aggravating factor at sentencing, enabling courts to impose more severe punishments, the Minister said.

“For too long gang members have been allowed to behave as if they are above the law. This Government is serious about restoring law and order, and the tolerance gangs enjoyed under the previous regime, has ended,” he said.

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