Waikato MP Tim van de Molen has echoed joined the chorus of complaints over gang links to Government funding.
It was “incomprehensible that $2.75 million has been allocated to them instead of to reputable agencies whose proven track records in rehabilitating people with drug addictions are overridden in favour of giving the money to the Mongrel Mob” he said.
The Waikato MP said the influence of gangs on vulnerable members of the wider community has long been of major concern.
“Their insidious infiltration into people’s lives has never been condoned by law-abiding society. It makes sense that the scourge of drugs in our community, illegal guns, intimidation, increased violence and other unsocial behaviours and crimes, which are hallmarks of gangs, should be staunchly targeted as intolerable by our law enforcers and Government.
“As such, it is unprecedented and completely unacceptable that a gang-affiliated group should be endorsed and financially benefit from none other than the Government and Prime Minister.”
A row had erupted over funding for a methamphetamine rehabilitation programme called Kahukura in the central Hawke’s Bay.
It emerged the organisation running the programme had gang connections.
A Ministry of Health spokesperson said Kahukura was a live-in marae-based programme using a mix of Te Ao Māori and western methodologies”.
But the Opposition has gone on the offensive over the programme.
“It’s glaring evidence that this Government is not only soft on crime, but untenably sanctioning gang activities by funding them,” Tim van de Molen said.
“Let’s be clear; the Mongrel Mob is an organised criminal organisation which has been caught selling meth, uses illegal firearms and perpetrates significant violence on our streets. Almost any other organisation would be more appropriate to fund than a drug-peddling gang, yet the Prime Minister has repeatedly stood by her decision to sign off on this funding, and that this is being blown out of proportion.”
National says there are now 8000 gang members “peddling drugs, violence and misery throughout New Zealand – that’s a 48% increase since this Government came to power”.
Earlier this month mental health Mike King found wide support when is failure to get Government funding for “Gumboot Friday” was compared to the Kahukura issue.