Government must focus on the underlying causes of crime to combat gang violence

We need action to address the underlying causes of crime, not more of the same simplistic solutions that we know do not work and risk harming communities, the Green Party says.

“Everybody deserves to live a life free of crime- and people deserve better than so-called 'tough-on-crime' rhetoric that ignores the real drivers of crime,” says Green Party justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman.

“If the Government is serious about building safer communities then it must respond to the social drivers of crime and violence, and ensure all children and young people have what they need to thrive. 

“The Green Party is the only party that understands that our communities are safer when everyone can make ends meet, put a roof over their heads, or food on the table. 

“The recent episodes of gang violence and crime will be scary for whānau and our communities. But granting police expanded powers is not going to address the problem of organised crime, prevent violence, or keep people safe. 

“Protections in our Bill of Rights Act require the police to have real cause to suspect someone of offending before they can enter their home or take their property. 

“Expanding police powers of search and seizure is an attack on these minimum standards. We know that Māori and Pasifika are many times more likely to be the subject of these searches - and that is just going to get worse because of today’s announcement. 

“We need to empower by-Māori, for-Māori solutions and work toward a justice system that restores mana to our people and communities and heals the harms of colonisation. For example, the Rangatahi and Pasifika Youth Court system with an empowering, rehabilitation focus, are proven to massively reduce youth crime.

“Sensible, evidence-based gun regulation is also needed to keep our communities safe. That’s why we’re supporting the Firearms Prohibition Orders Legislation Bill which is currently at select committee. This will reduce firearms violence by preventing high-risk individuals from being able to access firearms or restricted weapons, and we look forward to it being passed,” says Golriz Ghahraman.

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