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Councillor pushes for action after spate of weekend shootings rattle Auckland suburbs

An Auckland councillor is urging the government to fund more social workers in Ōtara to help stem apparent gang-related firearms incidents by working with young people and their families.

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Within a 10-minute period on Friday, police were called to four firearms incidents. Source: 1 NEWS

Police officers in South Auckland are carrying guns as a precaution as investigations continue into shots fired in the suburb on Friday and Saturday.

The three gunfire incidents in the space of 24 hours were reportedly gang-related and involved shots fired at houses, although police are yet to release details. No-one was injured.

In May last year, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff called for greater police resources to bolster the fight against gangs in South Auckland after the Killer Beez president was shot outside a Harley Davidson store near Mount Wellington Highway.

Manukau ward representative on Auckland Council, Alf Filipaina, said his plea was for the government to come on board.

"It's concerning, very concerning, for our community and look, government, come on board please about social workers," he told Morning Report.

Filipaina welcomed the increased police presence after the weekend shootings, and said it was warranted for officers to carry firearms, but wanted funding for social workers in the long term to work with families in the area.

"Because how do we move from say the next couple of weeks or a month, where there are no police there. What happens there in regards to any of the further incidents that occur - what do we do then? That's the issue that a lot of the community leaders are grappling with.

Going back to 2007, when I was Pacific liaison officer within the police, I know that the resources they threw into Māngere, Ōtara, Manurewa, I know it was working.

"Everybody was involved with this, our core community groups, like 274 [Youth Worker Project], like Crosspower.

I saw the work they were doing the impact they were making on our young ones in regards to getting a better pathway. But they just didn't concentrate on the young ones, they concentrated as well with the parents.

They were from the area, these social workers lived in the area where they were working.

"So I know it works, but then the funding was withdrawn when there was a change in government.

"I'm advocating, I'm pushing, I'm getting our community together to say let's have a look at it again, and if the results were positive, and I know they were ... let's have a look at doing that again."

rnz.co.nz