National Party leader Christopher Luxon reveals how the National Party would tackle the surge in gang crime. Video / Mark Mitchell
Gangs are an internal threat and should be prevented from promoting their lifestyle on social media, National’s leader Christopher Luxon says.
The National Party has accused Labour of being “soft on crime” and has set out its own gang policy.
It would give police powers to stop gang members gathering and wearing gang insignia in public and to block their access to guns.
Luxon told Morning Report National also wants gang activity to be restricted on social media.
He said police were telling the party that gang members were doing an effective job of selling gang lifestyle on social media to attract new recruits.
While it was a difficult area to navigate it had been used to control extremist material so the same approach could be tried with content promoting gangs.
Told that Internet New Zealand has dismissed the proposal as impossible to police, Luxon said it has been difficult to deter violent extremism and organisations and he could not see why it cannot be tried.
“Gang life is actually promoted with all the bling and all those presentations. That’s what we can have a crack at.
“I appreciate it’s tough and it’s hard but we should try doing something and giving the police some tools to push back on.”
When Luxon was pressed on whether the party’s gang policy had been formed taking into consideration the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act, he countered that gang members wanted the rights and not their responsibilities.
He pointed to Queensland where legislation had been effective in helping to cut down on gang numbers.
“In New Zealand we’ve got to wake up – we’ve got a rising threat and we need a different set of powers to counter that threat.”
Austerity not the answer
National remains convinced that reducing government spending is the way to target rising prices, Luxon said.
US markets have been unable to rebound after losses yesterday which saw bedlam in other sharemarkets around the world.
Fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine war and a China slowdown, economists say the risks of a US-led recession are growing.
In New Zealand, the stock market fell to the lowest level in more than two years.
Luxon said as a small economy with a narrow base, New Zealand gets “smashed around” a lot more during turbulence in other bigger economies – hence the greater need for financial discipline and good management.
“The real challenge here is inflation and so inflation’s getting a grip into our economies and many economies around the world.”
The Government had just spent $9.5 billion “putting more fuel on the inflation fire” while lifting interest rates with the two approaches working at cross-purposes.
National did not favour a policy of austerity and cuts and wanted to support important sectors such as health and education while ensuring the money was being well-spent.
“The problem is the Government doesn’t understand – they confuse spending a dollar delivering an outcome actually in the middle of something called execution and delivery and you can actually do quite different things to get outcomes with money.
“…It is not our intention to go into austerity and cuts. That’s going to hurt a lot of people and that’s the challenge here…”
He said raising interest rates to combat inflation will hurt home owners and the Government must instead curb its spending.