November 02, 2023
Gang town mayor says get tough policy won’t work
Opotiki District mayor and former policeman David Moore says the hardline approach on gangs promised by National didn’t work when he was a cop.
Mr Moore is having to deal with the consequences of tensions between the Mongrel Mob and Black Power in the eastern Bay of Plenty town – with one death, fights and shots fired in recent months.
He says poverty and a lack of opportunities lead to the formation of gangs – and banning patches in public will do little.
He says police in Opotiki police already have tools to address any problmes, with 11 arrests, 41 searches and the seizure of $27,000 of alleged drug money.
“You know shooting at vehicles, shooting at houses, that’s inappropriate. I’ve said that to members of gangs in our community. It’s got to stop. And the new laws that they’re using? Well that’s the consequences of their behaviour,” he says.
Mr Moore says the rival gang members are mostly related – and the way forward is working on what unites, not separates, them.