Politics | Crime

Peeni Henare says whānau can end alarming gun violence in his electorate

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says many of those committing the violence amid an increase in gang violence and illegal gun use come from within the communities.

"Ko te karanga ki te hapori whanui kei a matou, kei a tatou te hapori ki oku nei whakaaro kaua e tukuna atu tenei take ki nga Pirihimana anake kia tiro ano te hapori ki te hapori ano," he told
(This is a call to our communities. Don't leave it for the police to sort out. The community needs to address these issues too.)

Fellow Tāmaki Makaurau based Labour MP and Māori Development Minister, Willie Jackson has spent much of his life working in the South Auckland community. He says the violence in the past month is as bad as he has ever seen.

"He rereke tenei wa kaare au i te maumahara ki enei wa o mua he rereke te mahi o nga keeng, tit for tat, kaare matou i kite."
(This is different, it's unprecedented, We've never seen this violence before.)  

Police 'hamstrung'

Meanwhile, ACT and National say the government hasn't gone far enough in dealing with guns and gangs.

National police spokesperson Mark Mitchell says police have been hamstrung by the government's inactions. He is calling for greater powers, including a firearms prohibition order that would allow police to search anyone subject to that order, their vehicles and premises at any time of day.

"The simple reason for that is we have a soft-on-crime government and it's out of control and now as a country, we're experiencing drive-by shootings almost on a daily basis," he says.

ACT firearm law reform spokesperson Nicole McKee says police need to increase the pressure on gangs.

"Get into the gang pads, take the illegal firearms away and keep our communities safe. We want our children to be able to put down to sleep at night and rest without the parents being fearful that their homes are going to be shot up."

McKee, a former gun safety instructor who campaigned against gun law reform in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, says the laws on guns are too soft, and aren't working.

"Let's take those firearms away from the illegal holders so only the fit and proper people have access.

'Target gangs'

"The legislation at the moment is neither healthy nor safe for thriving communities and does not address the gang problem and illegal use that we see."

Mitchell is also wanting to reintroduce a previous National party policy to target gangs, including a specialised police unit.

"You actually need a physical presence that can go out and start targeting the gangs. We wanted a dedicated gang task force that was set that will respond to any kind of gang offending whether it was minor stuff right through to the serious firearms incidents."

Jackson is adamant his team is getting on top of the situation.

"We're all worried about our the gangs. I'm working closely with our ministers. I've had ex-members get in touch with me and leadership."

Henare maintains the solutions lie within the affected communities.

"Ka aroha ki ngā whānau, engari ka tiro atu ahau ko te nuinga o ēnei tangata ka puta i ngā whānau kei roto i ngā hapori. Tēnā pea he kupu atu ki ngā whānau, kōrerohia ki ō koutou tamariki, ki te hunga e mohio ana koe kei roto i ngā kenge kia tau ai te puehu." 
(Whilst I feel for our families from what I've seen most of these people come from the community they're in. I'd like to say to families please talk with your children, and those you know who are involved.)