The Dunedin City Council is investigating giving council
contracts to Notorious Mongrel Mob and Black Power.
This comes after the once warring gangs made national
headlines when they gave a joint submission at annual plan
hearings in May, asking councillors to consider giving them a
contract to maintain some of the council's green space.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said since then council staff - as
part of a wider review of procurement practices - had begun
looking at ways council contracts could be awarded to smaller
groups, such as the gangs.
This would likely involve breaking up some council contracts
into smaller packages, Mr Cull said.
''I hasten to say that it's not envisaged as a hand-out. They
didn't come asking for a hand-out, they came asking for
Council staff, along with Te Puni Kokiri, were also helping
the group put together a business plan.
He was ''hopeful'' some work would be found, but conscious it
would need to be of an appropriate kind.
''Clearly, given their colourful pasts, there are some kinds
of work that wouldn't be suitable.
''People might not be comfortable if you, for instance ...
said 'go and tend the flower beds at [Otago] Girls' High',''
In looking at the council's procurement policy, staff would
need to consider a range of other issues, such as not being
seen to favour one group over another and the effect any
changes would have on current contract-holders.
''It's a balance.''
Council events and community development manager Rebecca
Williams said it was ''too soon'' to tell if and when the
gangs might get a contract.
''We are looking at perhaps having a [trial] under the
economic development strategy.''
If the trial was successful other small groups might be able
to bid for council work.
Speaking at May's hearing, Mangu Kaha (Black Power) leader
Albert Epere said its plan was aimed at helping up to four
people into employment.
''We have all had colourful histories and we are just trying
to change things, to be part of the community.''
''It's not about us; it's about our kids. We have made a path
and now we are trying to change it.''