Time to end society's tolerance of gangs - 1/03/2006Mayor Michael Laws said today that it was time for society to say 'enough' when it came to the tolerance of gangs in the midst of the community.
"We have tolerated these people for over 40 years. They are nothing less than terrorists – people who intimidate, cheat, steal and hurt others. Gangs are the major source of organised crime and drug distribution in this country and we continue to treat them with the respect that is not their due."
Mayor Laws said that both central and local government had to find solutions to rid this social cancer from our communities.
"I will be proposing to our council a 'no patches' policy in the CBD and suburban shopping malls as one way of expressing Wanganui's desire to take back this community from gang infestation. We have liquor bans – we should have patch bans.
"But we also need the government to resource the Police with the manpower, the funding and the legislation to harass, annoy and outlaw these people. It is the weakness of New Zealand society that we tolerate people within it who are only too willing to sabotage its ideals and values."
Mayor Laws said he had received today calls from other mayors throughout New Zealand facing similar problems and the lack of police resources. He had also been publicly supported by the New Zealand Police Association and contacted by the Minister of Police's parliamentary office.
“I will be meeting with the Minister of Police within the next fortnight or so and presenting a case that if we are going to rid the gang menace from our midst then we need central government backing immediately.
"There are other communities in New Zealand such as Wairoa, Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty, Palmerston North and Christchurch where there have been gang-related incidents that have directly impeded the ability of ordinary, decent people to enjoy their lives. It's time for this kind of intimidation to stop."