TODAY |

Collins to continue talking about gangs until 'someone takes it seriously'

National Party leader Judith Collins continues to defend its focus on gangs, which she describes as a "very insidious evil in our society". 

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She feels gangs are "insidious" and "evil" and says the Government needs to take them seriously. Source: Breakfast

Since becoming leader in July last year, National has put out 33 press releases about gangs, amounting to 9700 words. 

When asked if she was obsessed with gangs on Breakfast, Collins replied: "I think I'm obsessed with the victims they create."

Collins said gangs were not "Rotary in leather", but rather organised crime groups who bring "incredible misery to people". 

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"People tend to underestimate how long these tentacles are in our communities."

She said she used to have the view the hurt which leads people into gangs needed to be addressed in order to reduce their ranks. 

Now she believes if a person is born into a gang family, their likelihood of becoming a member themselves is "extremely high".

According to Oranga Tamariki, 27 per cent of the about 4000 known gang members have been recorded as being the alleged perpetrators of substantiated abuse or neglect of children. 

"They join as they're often born into them and see it as a way of protection and they do it for the money and glamour," Collins said.

Judith Collins. Source: 1 NEWS

"They see these pictures and videos of gang members with flash cars, motorbikes, all these sorts of things, and they think 'this is the way forward for me'. 

"Actually it ultimately never brings anything other than misery," she said.

"I feel very passionately that gangs are a very insidious evil in our society."

Collins felt it was "very, very bad" gang numbers had risen 50 per cent in the last four years to about 8000. 

To crackdown on gangs, she said if National was in power, it would take gang assets and not give the money from such actions back to them, referencing the Government's funding of a Mongrel Mob-led methamphetamine rehab programme to the tune of $2.75 million from the Proceeds of Crime Fund.

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National would also target gangs' supply and use of methamphetamine. 

"You just don't sit there and say 'this is just a health problem'," she said.

"The issue has to be about dealing both with methamphetamine use and treatment, and also people who bring this stuff in.

"This is evil what gangs do and we must stand up against it."

Collins said she would continue to talk about gangs "until someone takes it seriously".