2 May 2019

South Auckland shootings raise fears in community - mayor

12:17 pm on 2 May 2019

The mayor of Auckland is calling for greater police resources to bolster the fight against gangs in South Auckland.

Armed police are standing guard outside the Harley Davidson story in Mt Wellington after a man was shot.

Armed police stand guard outside the Harley Davidson store in Mt Wellington after a man was shot. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Mayor Phil Goff told Morning Report the South Auckland community had seen about a dozen shootings within the space of a year, and that was "out of line".

"I've gone back and looked over those cases and a great many, if not most of them, are gang related and they're drug related, so there's few between the gangs."

Last Friday, the Killer Beez president was shot outside a Harley Davidson store near Mount Wellington Highway. A 39-year-old man last week appeared in court charged with the attempted murder in relation to the incident.

Mr Goff said the recent shooting had sparked concern among locals about an open gang war.

"What's been happening in the local community is what worries me most of all," he said.

"Yesterday, one of the schools in Ōtara put out special security arrangements for when kids are dropped off and picked up from school, because of the fear of the gangs fighting and another shooting, that's not tolerable."

Phil Goff with armed police officers at Otahuhu.

Phil Goff with armed police officers at Ōtāhuhu. Photo: Photo / Amy Williams / RNZ

Even prior to the recent shooting, Mr Goff said he went to the Counties Manukau police station and Police Minister Stuart Nash to raise the concern that more needed to be done.

"We need to up the level of police resources and we need to up the level [of] focus on organised crime through the gangs, particularly in relation to the drug trade which they make a lot of money out of."

Mr Goff said he's had a positive response from both, with the minister recognising that the station has been under-resourced in the past, and promising 137 new officers for the area.

However, the mayor said that guns were another element that should be looked into.

"I welcome what the government has done in terms of the MSSAs [military-style semi-automatic firearms], but I think we have to go further in giving the police greater ability to trace guns and to stop guns falling into the hands of gangs."

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill was introduced after the 15 March shootings at two Christchurch mosques.

Police said they were actively dealing with recent gang tensions in the Counties Manukau District.

Acting District Commander for Counties Manukau Inspector Matt Srhoj said community safety was always a priority.

"We have the cooperation of our neighbouring districts in Tāmaki Makaurau to ensure that we are equipped to deal with the issues.

"Any crimes which may be related are being investigated."

Police were also carrying out a number of enforcement and prevention activities and staff were highly visible in key locations, he said.

"We urge anyone who is aware of gang-related activity to contact police by phoning 111 for emergencies or contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

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