Luxon wants gangs banned from social media

Gangs are an insider threat and should be stopped from promoting their way of life on social media, National chief Christopher Luxon said.

The National Party accused the Labor Party of being “soft on crime” and set out its own gang policy.

This would give police the power to prevent gang members from congregating and wearing gang badges in public and to block their access to firearms.

Luxon told RNZ morning report program today that National also wants gang activity restricted on social media.

He said police tell the party that gang members are doing an effective job of selling the gang lifestyle on social media to attract new recruits.

Although this is a difficult area to navigate, it has been used to control extremist material – so the same approach could be tried with content promoting gangs.

Told that Internet New Zealand rejected the proposal as impossible to scrutinize, Luxon said it was difficult to deter violent extremism and organizations and he saw no reason why it couldn’t be judged.

“Gang life is actually promoted with all the bling and all these presentations. That’s what we can have a crack at.

“I appreciate that it’s tough and difficult, but we should try to do something and give the police tools to push back.”

When Luxon was pressed on whether the party’s policy on gangs had been developed with consideration of the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act, he countered that gang members wanted the rights and not their responsibilities.

He pointed to Queensland where legislation had been effective in helping to reduce gang numbers.

“In New Zealand we need to wake up – we have a growing threat and we need a different set of powers to counter that threat.”

National remains convinced that cutting government spending is the way to target higher prices, Luxon said.

US markets were unable to rebound from yesterday’s losses that rocked other stock markets around the world.

Fueled by the Russian-Ukrainian war and a slowdown in China, economists say the risks of a U.S.-led recession are growing.

In Aotearoa, the stock market fell to its lowest level in more than two years.

Luxon said that as a small economy with a narrow base, New Zealand is much more “crushed” during the turmoil in other large economies – hence the greater need for financial discipline and good management.

“The real challenge here is inflation and so inflation is gripping our economies and many economies around the world.”

The government had just spent $9.5 billion to “further fuel the fire of inflation” while raising interest rates, the two approaches working at cross purposes.

National was not in favor of a policy of austerity and budget cuts and wanted to support important sectors such as health and education while ensuring that the money was well spent.

“The problem is the government doesn’t understand – they confuse spending a dollar to actually get a result in the middle of something called execution and delivery and you can actually do very different things to get results with money .”

“…It’s not our intention to go into austerity and cuts. It’s going to hurt a lot of people and that’s the challenge here…”

Raising interest rates to fight inflation will hurt homeowners and the government should cut spending instead, he said.

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