July 13, 2022
Gang catch-all for omnibus crime bill
A veteran social activist and veteran gang member say the Government’s proposed gang crime bill tries to bring together a number of different problems and slap a gang label on them.
The amendment bill announced today by Police Minister Chris Hipkins and Justice Minister Kiri Allan includes new powers for police to find and seize weapons from gang members, a new offence of discharging a gun with intent to intimidate, and more power for police to seize cars, motorbikes and cash.
Denis O’Reilly says the gun crime initiatives could equally apply to a white power terrorist or even to the ACT gang who have deeply held views on the right to own and use firearms.
The vehicle impoundment regime could apply to the Destiny church motorcycle gang protests or ‘Freedom’ or ‘Groundswell’ gang convoys.
The enhanced cash seizure powers and prohibition of cash payment for specified goods are primarily relevant to organised crime regardless of who commits it.
Mr O’Reilly says gangs in this country arise from colonialism, neoliberalism, and socioeconomic inequality, which the changes don’t address.
The word gang is applied seamlessly to misbehaving youth, victims of abuse in state care, and to individuals and groups involved in organised crime, with the common denominator in the eyes of most New Zealanders is that they are likely to be brown-skinned.