National and Labour trade barbs over Opposition's gang crackdown proposals

The National Party and Labour Ministers are trading barbs over law and order in New Zealand.

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National released its discussion document today, but Kelvin Davis says the Government’s policies are working. Source: 1 NEWS

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis called National's recently released policy discussion document a "mish-mash of reheated ideas", after National's leader Simon Bridges accused Labour of breeding criminals by being soft on crime. 

"While Labour soft pedals on prisoners we will ensure victims of crime are even closer to the centre of the criminal justice system," Mr Bridges said today. 

"National has the ideas and momentum in New Zealand politics while Labour is stuck in a rut, failing to deliver on its promises for New Zealanders."

National is proposing to ban gang patches in public places, refuse parole to murderers who will not give the location of a body and revoke parole for people who associate with gangs. 

National proposes banning gang patches in public, new police unit to 'harass gangs'

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said what the Government was doing "is working". 

He said National "talk a good game but their track record over the last nine years shown crime wasn't getting better".

When asked if banning gang patches in public places was a good idea, Mr Davis said it "is something that's been spoken about before".

"I'm not saying I wouldn't be in favour, but I'm saying it's a rehash of ideas that have been used before.

"They had an opportunity to do it over nine years, now I think in desperation they're coming up with these old ideas.

"Basically just the mish-mash of reheated ideas."

Mr Davis said "everything this Government is doing" is designed to stop people going to prison in the first time, "and if they do end up in prison, make sure they come out as better people". 

National also proposed introducing a new police unit modelled off New South Wales' Strike Force Raptor, to target gang activity.

Source: 1 NEWS

"The Government I lead will harass and disrupt gangs every single day I am Prime Minister, with the single minded goal of eliminating them," Mr Bridges said. 

"OK National, that’s enough TV for you," Immigration Minister Iain-Lees Galloway tweeted. "Time for bed. You can finish watching Strike Force Raptor in the morning."

The National Party Twitter account then wrote, "Remember when you gave a criminal residency because you couldn't be bothered reading a case file?"

That reference was refering to convicted Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek

Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway initially granted Sroubek New Zealand residency based on information that his life would be in danger if he was deported. However, he later learned Sroubek had travelled back to Czech Republic on a different passport. It sparked a review into the processes of deportation liability decisions