21 Oct 2009

Mixed views on minister's meeting with gangs

6:05 am on 21 October 2009

Labour leader Phil Goff is critical of Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples for meeting gang leaders.

In March Te Puni Kokiri paid $6000 to bring 16 gang leaders to Auckland for a meeting on ways to stop the escalating violence caused by the methemphetimine trade.

Mr Goff says it doesn't look like a co-ordinated response to crime when one week the Prime minister is declaring war on gangs and the next the Minister of Maori Affairs is meeting gang leaders.

He told Waatnea News the guest list included convicted criminals.

However, gang liaison worker Dennis O'Reilly says Dr Sharples is showing inspiring leadership on the gang issue.

The veteran Black Power member, who was at the meeting, says Dr Sharples should be applauded for trying to turn the gangs leaders away from drugs and crime.