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Patch bill 'a step towards banning gangs' - MP

Published: 12:56PM Wednesday November 07, 2012 Source: ONE News

The National MP for Rotorua says his proposal to outlaw the wearing of gang insignia on Government property is a step towards banning gangs altogether.

National MP Todd McClay believes he has the support to pass a private member's bill which would see gang patches banned from public schools, hospitals and swimming pools.

McClay told ministers at today's select committee his bill will further alienate gang members and make membership unattractive.

"This bill is not a silver bullet it won't fix all problems around gangs in New Zealand but it will be one way to lessen their influence and to send a message to them that their abuse of citizenship is not acceptable," he said.

Police say there are around 200 gang chapters in New Zealand and officers support the proposal.

The Public Services Association, however, says the proposed law poses safety concerns for front-line workers.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott said the bill has not been thought through as it puts front-line staff in stressful situations they are ill-equipped to deal with.

The bill has also been criticised by the Mana Party which says it is a waste of time.