© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Gang crime takes another hit

Lachie McLeod
NZ Police
New Zealand Police  Nikki Carroll

Firearms may be off the market for high-risk individuals as the Government proposes a new Firearms Prohibition Order (FPO). 

Their aim is to make the community safer by taking away the opportunity for high-risk people to get their hands on weapons. 

Justice minister Kris Faafoi said he wanted to hit gangs where it hurts...their pockets”. 

Faafoi said the primary reason for organised crime to exist was the profit to be made from vulnerable New Zealanders. 

Police minister Poto Williams said, “it is no secret that gun crime is an increasing concern to our communities, and we need to take further action.” 

The proposed FHO will go in front of the house later this year. 

Due to this New Zealand Police were unable to comment.  

However, a national operation launched by Police in February, which targets the disruption and prevention of firearms-related violence, is already seeing results. 

In a statement, assistant commissioner of investigations, Lauano Sue Schwalger, said the initial results were significant. 

According to New Zealand Police since the launch of Operation Tauwhiro 350 firearms have been seized, along with $2.46 million in cash.  

A total of 378 people have been arrested in relation to firearms offences. 

Forty-seven of those firearms were seized in the Canterbury district, along with $15,520 cash.

Fifty-five people were arrested in relation to firearms offences in Canterbury.  

Police said organised crime within New Zealand was expanding and becoming more sophisticated. 

Additionally, increasing gang tensions have been evident through an increase in violent incidents across the country.  

Williams said the Government needed to make sure New Zealanders and their families are kept safe. 

Police said any individuals or groups in possession of unlawful firearms, or involved in violence involving firearms, could expect to be the focus of significant police attention.  

Schwalger said the police were focused on preventing firearms getting into the hands of criminals.

To strengthen this effort they have established a Firearms Investigations Team, to identify and investigate people who actively supply firearms to gangs and organised crime groups.  

The proposed reform is intended to allow people to think carefully before mixing with the wrong crowd.