11 Feb 2009

Anti-gang bill passes first reading

2:47 pm on 11 February 2009

Legislation giving police more power to act against criminal gangs passed its first hurdle in Parliament on Tuesday.

The Gangs and Organised Crime Bill, which was considered under urgency, passed its first reading by 109 votes to 14. The Maori Party and the Greens voted against it.

The legislation would double the penalty for participation in a criminal gang from five to 10 years, and make involvement in such a gang an aggravating factor in sentencing.

It would make it easier for the police to apply for interception warrants and to storm gang fortifications.

The Labour Party supported the Bill to select committee, but questioned how effective the measures will be.

It is one of a number of justice bills the Government is introducing in the next fortnight.