• Stuart Nash applauds police action against gangs, says Labour Government did not support his tough stance on gang assets.

Stuart Nash applauds police action against gangs, says Labour Government did not support his tough stance on gang assets.


Former Labour Minister Stuart Nash has applauded police crushing gang Harley Davidsons and says the previous Labour Government did not support his tough stance on gang assets.

This comes after six distinctive motorcycles that were once prized possessions of the Comanchero Motorcycle gang have been destroyed. A recent court order gave Police the green light to crush the gold-plated Harley Davidson motorcycles, along with numerous personalised plates, and sell the remains as scrap metal.

Last year, the then Labour Government made changes to the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act that allowed police to go after gang leaders' properties, cars, bikes and bling, providing the assets were valued at $30,000 or above.

The then Justice Minister Kiri Allan, said she had received advice that the lower limit would make it compliant with the Bill of Rights Act (BORA).

Nash, now Commercial Director of Robert Walters, posted on his Linkedin profile the comment “Love this!” in relation to the news that police had crushed the gang motorbikes.

He said that when he was Police Minister in the last parliamentary term, “it was my very strong view that there should be no lower limit on ‘unexplained wealth’ when going after the gangs assets”.

He said that Allan “rallied hard against this position because, she argued, it was ‘anti-Māori’ and, therefore, had BORA issues .

Nash, who is a former MP for Napier, said in the post that he refuted this 100 per cent.

“A gang member is a gang member who needs to be held to account no matter what their race. Community comes before gangs in my view, but in the end [Chris] Hipkins as PM backed Allan and I couldn’t get it through.”

Nash also took a swipe at the National Party saying that when it was in opposition, they did not seek to hold Allan to account.

“I was astounded, but put it down to the fact that the opposition (and Paul Goldsmith in particular as Justice spokesperson) was so disengaged that he didn’t even understand what was happening.”

This comes as the now Justice Minister Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell announced yesterday that, as part of National and ACT’s coalition agreement, the Government will introduce legislation to ban all gang insignia in public places, and create greater powers to stop criminal gangs from gathering in groups and communicating.

In response to the claims by Nash, Hipkins said in a statement to Hawke's Bay App: “I led a number of changes around gangs and organised crime as Police Minister, and also supported many of Stuart’s when he was Police Minister as a member of Cabinet.”

“Cabinet has collective responsibility, which means decisions made are made by us all. It also states those discussions must remain confidential. We did some great work in Government alongside Police in the organised crime space - in fact it led to the images we saw yesterday of gang members’ bikes being crushed.”

Hipkins said his Government also removed thousands of dangerous firearms from circulation, increased frontline police numbers and saw the first major investment specifically into officers focused on organised crime.

“I stand by all of those collective Cabinet decisions which better funded Police and gave them the tools and legislative changes they needed to do the job.”