MP calls for action to counter soaring gang violence in Hawkes Bay

A community meeting on gangs held in Napier on Wednesday 17 March 2021, hosted by National MPs Louise Upston and Simon Bridges attracted a large diverse audience including residents, some with gang affiliations, business people, Napier City Councillors and the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

“This meeting was an opportunity for the local community to come together in a safe, moderated environment for a conversation about gang activity to hear first hand from people who are fearful of the ongoing tension and violence, and to explore potential solutions,” says Ms Upston.

“I went to the meeting with an open mind and expecting a robust conversation and I was not disappointed.

“Some of the experiences relayed were sobering, ranging from business owners being threatened with guns, to mothers sharing stories about their children becoming caught up in gangs with dire consequences for the family, ‘ Ms Upston said.

“While the conversations were frank and passionate, constructive solutions and ideas were put forward too.

“Councillors addressed the meeting and one of the key messages was the need for a greater policing presence to give people more assurance that they can go about their daily activities without feeling fearful in their own communities.

“The Hawkes Bay wants more police officers, a more visible police presence in public spaces and a quicker, stronger response when community members alert Police to an incident.

“I will be writing to the Minister of Police urging her to take urgent action to keep the community in Napier safe.

Ms Upston says she looks forward to continuing the conversation with the community and giving them a voice in Parliament.

Media contact: Louise Upston 0274767887