Manawatu Standard

ACT talks crackdown on gangs, police policy

- Luke Malpass

The ACT Party has lashed the Labour Party for a soft-on-crime approach to gangs and prisons, proposing a new suite of policies to crack down on crime if elected to Government.

The new set of policies have been released in the second of three policy discussion documents ACT plans to launch this year.

Both National and ACT have been trying to take on Labour for being soft-on-crime after a massive growth in gang member numbers over the past few years, and a riot at Waikeria prison over the new year.

‘‘Gang numbers are up 50 per cent after four years of Labour’s ‘kindness’ approach. We’ve watched as patched gang members have taken over our streets like it’s them and not law-abiding taxpayers who own the place,’’ ACT leader David Seymour said in a statement accompanyi­ng the release.

‘‘Labour’s soft-on-crime approach has just fertilised the growing gang problem. This is the dangerous side of Jacinda’s kindness. She likes to blame Australia, but only two per cent of new gang members are ‘501s’ sent from there. We need a Government that takes responsibi­lity for what’s happening on its watch.

‘‘A good opposition proposes, not just opposes. That’s why today we’re releasing a raft of policies with positive solutions,’’ Seymour said.

Among the proposals are gang injunction orders, in which police could apply to the courts for an injunction of an individual on a gang list. It would prohibit the gang member from being in certain places or associatin­g with certain people. It could also be used to require positive actions such as rehabilita­tion.

Act would also lock in automatic police budget increases in line with inflation to ‘‘take the politics out of policing’’. The party is also proposing ‘‘electronic income management’’ for gang members on benefits.

‘‘Gang members would receive their benefit in the form of an electronic card that would track and restrict spending on alcohol, gambling, and tobacco,’’ the party’s social developmen­t spokesman, Karen Chhour, said. ‘‘The money provided by taxpayers will need to go towards food and other essentials.’’

Both ACT and the National Party view Kelvin Davis and Correction­s as a potential vote winner, especially after the Waikeria prison riot over the summer.

 ??  ?? David Seymour
David Seymour

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