Associate Social Welfare Minister Tariana Turia wants her ministry to go back to funding gang-led social work programmes, which have almost disappeared in recent years.
Waatea News reports gang-related programmes had been a feature of the system since the 1970s, when former National prime minister Robert Muldoon was challenged by Black Power to help them into jobs and productive activity.
Mrs Turia says the lack of such programmes hinders the efforts of people such as the leader of the South Auckland Notorious chapter of the Mongrel Mob, Roy Dunn, to work with young people at risk and show them alternatives to gang life.
She says bureaucracies are judgmental about those they deem to be inappropriate to work with young people.
"People like Roy Dunn are doing a great job, because he's the kind of person who can get to the hard-to-reach young people, and we need to resource it."