In an alliance which has shocked many, former National and ACT leader Don Brash has thrown his support behind a Mongrel Mob Kingdom project.
Brash has become a trustee of gang-led education and research centre Ngā Whānau o Mangarū.
The centre was registered as a charitable trust in October last year.
Te Mapu Mangaru’s Paula Ormsby told Te Karere the collaboration has been an eye opener for Brash.
“I think what Don has seen, he’s seen that we’re just like any other person.
“We are wanting the best for our children, we’re wanting the best for our families and that he has really seen the human side of us."
Brash admits his motion isn’t supported by everyone in his former party, but he is doing it for the greater good.
“If Mongrel Mob Kingdom members get better educated, they get better jobs, it’s better for them, better for their families and better for the wider community,” he said.
“To me, the public has in some way seen me as anti-gangs, even anti-Māori. I’m not anti-gangs or anti-Māori – I’m for New Zealanders.
“I guess I’m trying to help them too … and if I can do that by being a trustee of the trust, they’ve suggested that I should be the treasurer, very happy to do that.”
However, National MP Simeon Brown said it was “frankly unacceptable”.
“Until they hand back the guns and stop selling meth and causing misery on our streets, I don’t give them any credibility.”
National Party leader Judith Collins took a different stance, though.
“It is entirely up to Don. He’s a private citizen. After he left the National Party, he became the leader of the ACT Party so perhaps they’re probably best to answer it,” she told reporters.