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Live UpdatesJun 11 2022

Total ban on patches in public among National’s plans to combat gangs

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Total ban on patches in public among National’s plans to combat gangs

Jun 11 2022

Covid-19 latest: Eight deaths, 332 currently in hospital, 5202 cases

The Ministry of Health has reported 5,202 new community cases, 361 current hospitalisations and eight deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 5,914. This time last week it was 6,841.

The eight people whose deaths are reported today all died within the past five days.

Today’s reported deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1,311. The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 13.

Of the people whose deaths are reported today, two were from Bay of Plenty; one was from MidCentral; one was from the Wellington region; two were from Canterbury; one was from South Canterbury; and one was from Southern.

One person was in their 60s; four were in their 70s; one was in their 80s; and two were aged over 90. Three were women and five were men.

National announces plans for sweeping new police powers to combat gangs

A National government will introduce a raft of new laws to address gang violence, including the power for police to stop gang members gathering both in public and private spaces.

Speaking to a National conference in Auckland today, leader Chris Luxon laid out four policies aimed at curbing gang activity:

National will ban gang insignia and patches in public, extending current rules against the wearing of gang patches in government buildings like courts and hospitals to every public space. Luxon said the ban would also cover publicly accessible social media sites, “which police tell us gangs are now using to show off and to make their lifestyle more appealing to kids and for recruitment”.

Police will have the power to stop gang members gathering in public. “Police will have the power to issue a special notice notices to anyone they reasonably suspect of being a gang member or a gang prospect. Once issued, gang members will be required to immediately leave a public area and not associate in public with one another for seven days.”

Police will have the power to stop gang offenders from associating with each other. “Gang crimes don’t just happen, they are coordinated and they are planned,” said Luxon. “And often police know exactly who the criminals are and that can’t stop them can’t stop them from preparing to commit a crime. And so police will be able to issue ‘consorting prohibition notices’ in order to stop known gang offenders committing serious offences.”

The orders will restrict gang members from associating or communicating with one another. Once issued, they will be in effect for up to three years.

Police will have the power to issue firearms prohibition orders. These could be issued against any gang member who in the last 10 years has been convicted of a serious offence, and would make it illegal for that person to access firearms or to enter certain premises with firearms. “Police would have the power to search people who are subject to a firearms prohibition order and search their premises or their vehicles for firearms at any time,” said Luxon.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon pictured in February 2022. (Photo by James Allan/Getty Images)

Luxon added that a National government would bring back the social investment approach to help steer at-risk young people in a direction that would give them the chance of a more positive and productive life. 

“That’s a long term project and it’s a challenging project, and it will take time and lots of hard work to show results,” he said.

He said National would also ensure New Zealand’s education system and economy is generating opportunities for everyone, so young people see that they have life choices that don’t involve joining gangs.

“But none of this gets away from the fact that we need action against gangs right now.”

International arbitrator rejects BusinessNZ’s complaint over fair pay agreements

Business lobby group BusinessNZ has failed in its bid to have New Zealand’s fair pay agreements deemed inconsistent with international conventions.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN agency responsible for workers’ rights and employment, found that the proposed legislation did not contravene international labour law. The bill would create a new system for collective bargaining and set a floor on pay and conditions for workers in an industry, particularly in low-wage sectors such as cleaning and care work.

Business NZ CEO Kirk Hope (Photo: RNZ)

The government welcomed the decision, with workplace relations and safety minister Michael Wood calling on BusinessNZ to take the opportunity to “come back to the table and work with us” on the agreements.

“Sector based minimum standards are common place across the OECD, including Australia and most of Europe. It’s time to leave the hyperbole at home and engage in rolling out an employment relations system that is fairly common place around the world,” Wood said.

“Our 30-year experiment with a low-cost labour model has not worked. Many workers have suffered, but, equally, our rates of labour productivity have been amongst the worst in the world under that regime,” he added.

In its ruling, the ILO said the government should continue to consult with stakeholders on the proposed legislation, and to report back on it as part of New Zealand’s regular reporting on ILO conventions in 2024.

BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said he was “pleased” with the outcome of the case “as the conclusions recognise that the government has an opportunity to ensure that the bill complies with international law”.

That has always been our goal,” he said. “This decision validates our legitimate claim that compelling people to bargain is not consistent with the NZ government’s obligations and commitments and we look forward to ensuring that NZ can meet those obligations.”