7 May 2009

Gang patches banned from Wanganui's streets

5:32 am on 7 May 2009

A bill to outlaw the wearing of gang patches in public in Wanganui has been passed by Parliament.

The Prohibition of Gang Insignia Bill was initiated by the Wanganui District Council and sponsored by National MP for Whanganui, Chester Borrows.

Anyone in breach of the law would be liable for a fine of up to $2,000.

The bill passed on Wednesday night by 62 votes to 59 with the National Party, three ACT MPs and United Future's Peter Dunne voting in favour.

During the final reading, Mr Borrows told Parliament the bill seeks to stop the intimidation created by the wearing of gang patches.

"It is not an attempt to outlaw gangs, stop gang offending or bring about world peace," he said.

"It is a narrowly-focused instrument to stop intimidation by the display of gang insignia. That's it."

Gang 'role models' should be targeted

Police Association President Greg O'Connor told MPs on Wednesday the only way to combat the gang problem is to target the adult, male 'role models', and break the cycle.

The association, which represents police officers, appeared before the Law and Order select committee to give its views on legislation aimed at cracking down on gangs.

The legislation, among other measures, would make it illegal to be a gang member, and the offence would carry up to 10 years in jail.

Labour and Green MPs on the committee challenged Mr O'Connor for saying authorities should be committed to arresting and removing the gang 'role models' from the community.