Mayor says legal advice OKs gang by-law - 6/04/2006Mayor Michael Laws today said that, contrary to the headlines in the 'Wanganui Chronicle' over the past couple of days, "the council has followed legal advice in its drafting of the gang patch by-law and is satisfied at the robustness of its proposals".
"The advice cited by Simpson Grierson was not that we could not create a by-law – just that we had to be careful how we did so. In fact, it was Simpson Grierson who drafted the amended by-law that Council passed on Monday. Most media commentary seems to refer to an earlier draft."
Mr Laws said that he was "bemused by those who see the human rights of a criminal gang as more important than the civil rights of law-abiding Wanganui citizens. All law is a trade-off between competing and sometimes conflicting rights. I think we have the by-law framed in such a way that it will withstand the scrutiny of the courts. We certainly intend it to do so".
Mr Laws also said that a Youth Council-commissioned poll of 2000 young people – presented to the Youth Council last week – "highlighted that the young in Wanganui have also had a gutsful of gangs in our city".
"Asked to nominate two things that they most disliked about our city, they nominated the lack of shopping choice and the influence of gangs. And that was completed before the Mongrel Mob/Hell's Angels clashes. This city has had enough and council's by-law is our first attempt to ensure that our citizens feel safe and are made safer."