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Mayor Hails Parliamentary Vote On Anti-Gang Patch Bill

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Michael Laws
Michael Laws

Wanganui mayor Michael Laws today described the passing of the second reading of the council's anti-gang patch bill as "good news, and a step in the right direction in confronting the evil of criminal gangs."

The 'Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Bill' passed its second reading in Parliament by 64 votes to 58.

The bill was drafted by the council and introduced into Parliament, on its behalf, by local MP Chester Borrows.

Mayor Laws said that he was delighted "that the National government and its Act and United allies are behind this measure. That looks a very solid partnership on this fundamental law and order issue. Chester Borrows has done a great job."

" This bill allows our community to give our local Police, another weapon with which to resist gangs and their activities."

The bill is supported by Wanganui Police, Police HQ and the NZ Police Association.

" However, the Labour party's about face is very poor. They supported the bill before the election when gangs were a political issue. Post-election, and they've gone soft - exposing their pre-election rhetoric as empty words. It is a betrayal of their pre-election promises."

Mayor Laws said that the bill will have three key effects;

1. It will stop patched gang members from intimidating citizens in public places; 2. It will stop gangs from advertising their criminality to impressionable youth; 3. It will give Police additional powers to intervene against gang members in public places.

" We're not suggesting that this bill is the silver bullet. But it will be another very useful tool in the Police toolbox, and complement other anti-gang legislation currently before Parliament."

Mayor Laws said that "numerous mayors and councils, from throughout the country, have been in contact with regards this legislation. They are all preparing to follow Wanganui's lead."

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