Govt continues fight against NZ's gang culture

Author
Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Tue, 1 Mar 2016, 5:22PM
The Government's launched new anti-gang measures to target New Zealand's gang culture. Photo / NZ Herald
The Government's launched new anti-gang measures to target New Zealand's gang culture. Photo / NZ Herald

Govt continues fight against NZ's gang culture

Author
Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Tue, 1 Mar 2016, 5:22PM

The Government says harm prevention is its aim as it launches new anti-gang measures.

Two new pilot programmes have been put in place in the Bay of Plenty, and the other on the East Coast.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said they will support partners and children of gang members, as well as help young people avoid gang lifestyles.

"If you look at the experience of family violence, it goes right across quite a large community, particularly woman and children who suffer at the hands of these gang members and it's a continuous cycle."

Ms Tolley said funding for the trials is more than $1.1 million, and they'll be run over the next two years.

A new, multi-agency Gang Intelligence Centre is also now operational and is collecting intelligence on gang activities.

Police Minister Judith Collins said it brings together information held by Social Development, Customs, Corrections, Internal Affairs, Immigration, and Police, and it'll be used to deal with the drivers of crime.

"And if we're going to make any real dent in those figures and to get that down and to help people save their lives, we're going to have to deal with these gangs," Ms Collins said.

Anne Tolley said the new anti-gang measures are about reducing harm, and indicated the long term cost to her ministry is estimated at around $700 million.

"Whether it's through methamphetamine, which destroys lives, or whether it's through family violence and child abuse, right across Government we are working towards that."

According to data published by the Government today, a study of almost 4000 gang members and prospects shows over 90 per cent have received a main benefit.

Plus they've received on average $132,000 each in welfare assistance, and 27 per cent of them are recorded as alleged abusers or neglecters of children.

The figures also show six to seven thousand children are estimated to have a parent who is a gang member, and almost 5900 of them are known to Child Youth and Family.

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