by Geoffrey Churchman

National Party leader Chris Luxon has announced a raft of measures National will enact to deal with the escalating crime in Jacindaland which includes a ban on gang patches in public.

According to this Radio NZ report:

Already patches are not allowed in hospitals, government buildings and courts, but National would ban them from all public places, Luxon said. “Patches are about intimidation, and are given only to people who have committed a violent crime to show loyalty to a gang.”

Additionally, National would give police the power to issue:

  • Firearms Prohibition Orders — making it illegal for a gang member with a conviction for a serious offence from the last ten years to access firearms or enter a property where firearms are; Police would have the power to search their property or vehicles for firearms at any time.
  • Dispersal notices — to order a gang member or prospect to leave a public area, and not to meet together in public for seven days.
  • Consorting Prohibition notices — to order a “known gang offender” not to associate or communicate with other gang members for up to three years.

Luxon said to address the “complex” and long-term problems behind crime the party would “bring back the social investment approach” that would steer young people away from a pathway leading to crime and gangs, and direct them toward a more productive life.

The problem is an old one, see this post about the battle of Peka Peka in February 1971. Governments in the past, notably the Muldoon government, have tried to address it by giving the gangs public money for what was hoped would be socially and morally constructive programs — but that didn’t happen, it just got spent on weapons, booze and illicit substances (according to what I was told by those in the know). Dear Leader of Jacindaland’s $3 million gift to the Mongrel Mob last year was likely spent this way.

However, not all gangs are the same; in America most of those involving bikers are OK, only about 1% of their members are considered outlaws and criminals — the Bandidos, Hells Angels, Pagans and Outlaws are the most notorious and it’s likely the same percentage applies in NZ.

Not all the others are in the same category either — the above photo features 6 Mongrel Mob patches, but also 2 of the Tu Tangata Iwi Tapu (people of the holy tribe), affiliated with the Destiny Church who are keen to demonstrate they are do-gooders, see this page on their website. Imposing restrictions on them would be unjustified.

For these reasons I don’t support a blanket ban; only in respect of gangs that are demonstrably trouble makers, if not organised criminals, like Jacinda’s friends.