3 Nov 2010

Wairoa council to consider banning gang patches

8:12 pm on 3 November 2010

National MP Chris Tremain says he will support the Wairoa District Council if it decides to ban gang patches in the town.

Mayor Les Probert wants urgent action to resolve gang conflicts in the Hawke's Bay town and the council will discuss the issue at its next meeting.

There have been four gang-related shootings since June, two of them in the space of four days last week.

A meeting between Mr Probert, police and Mr Tremain on Wednesday agreed that banning patches would help reduce the profile of the gangs.

Mr Tremain says if the council backs the idea he will smooth the way for a bill to Parliament.

The Napier MP says he will discuss possible changes to legislation with Police Minister Judith Collins to give officers greater powers when dealing with gangs.

Mr Probert says the tacit approval many in the community give to the two gangs in the district has to change.

The council will lead any initiatives which will help solve the conflict, but it needs the support of the whole community, he says.