3 Sep 2017

Serious criminals 'have fewer human rights' - National

12:38 pm on 3 September 2017

Serious criminals should have fewer human rights than others, according to the National Party's police spokesperson Paula Bennett.

Paula Bennett, Deputy Prime Minister

National's police spokesperson Paula Bennett. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Ms Bennett and the party's leader Bill English have announced National's policy to crack down on gangs and the supply and manufacture of methamphetamine.

The plan would give police the power to search the cars and houses of the most serious criminal gang members, at any time, for firearms through the use of new prohibition orders, which would be given at the discretion of police.

Ms Bennett said that would probably breach the human rights of those gang members.

macro shot of Crystal Methamphetamine

National's new policy targets P. Photo: wikipedia commons

"We just feel that there are some gang members that are creating more harm and continuing to.

"Some have fewer human rights than others when they are creating a string of victims behind them ... there is a different standard."

Mr English said he was comfortable with the policy.

"We're comfortable that this is a tool which will enable the front line of our police to deal more effectively with the structure of the distribution of meth and the dangers of firearms.

"It will go right through the legislative process, so of course this will be argued."

National's plan would invest $42 million over four years to fund a crackdown on gangs and the supply of serious drugs.

Aside from new police powers, it would double the number of drug dog teams and introduce them in domestic airports, ferries and mail centres to clamp down on trafficking. Penalties for manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabis would be increased from a maximum of two years' imprisonment to eight years, but no changes to charges for possession.

Gang members on a benefit would also have to justify expensive assets worth more than $10,000, otherwise their benefit could be cancelled or be declined.

Ms Bennett said serious drugs like methamphetamine and the gangs who peddle them were a scourge on society.

"These drug dealers are destroying lives for profit and greed and these drugs have no place in our country."

National would also fund 1500 additional in-patient drug treatment places and more community-based treatment at a cost of $40 million over four years.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs