Police are willing to enter talks with the two biggest
gangs in the country about turning their backs on crime, as
Black Power and Mongrel Mob leaders meet to broker a peace
Other changes are also forecast in gangland, as the
Government prepares to unveil a new plan to deal with gangs,
which Police Minister Anne Tolley hopes to present to the
public before the election.
Mrs Tolley said yesterday officials from government
departments were working on a plan to tackle gangs. She hoped
to have plans before Cabinet next month.
It required a radical approach, she said.
There would be no ''soft-on-gangs'' proposition, but ''we've
learned arresting and imprisoning ... you don't get rid of
Last week in Dunedin, the Notorious Mongrel Mob and Black
Power gave a joint submission at the Dunedin City Council
annual plan hearings, asking councillors to consider giving
them a contract to maintain some of the council's green
''We have all had our colourful histories and we are just
trying to change things, to be part of the community,'' Mangu
Kaha (Black Power) leader Albert Epere told the hearing.
''It's not about us; it's about our kids. We have made a path
and now we are trying to change it.''
While sceptical of talk of the motivations of gangs coming
together, Mrs Tolley said: ''My message to them is 'great, if
they've seen the error of their ways, we'll work with them'.
There's a lot of talk and what we'd like to see is action.''
The shift in mood is also revealed in TV3's 3rd Degree
programme tonight, which captures peace talks between
influential Black Power and Mongrel Mob presidents.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush told 3rd Degree his officers
would try to find a way to work with those who wanted change.
''If they can show their own genuineness through their own
actions and influencing their own whanau and family for a
different way of life, then that will go a long way - but
we're prepared to do what we need to do in that area as
Senior figures in other gangs told 3rd Degree they saw no
future in continued opposition.
Founding Black Power member and national president Reithu
Harris said there was a growing understanding with the
Mongrel Mob and a desire to get past crime, rivalry and
He said 99% of both groups were Maori and ''we're all
''I think it's merging whanaus together - in a positive way -
not to merge to do drugs, not to merge to do crime. I'm
totally against that.
''But if we are merging for the positive things in life,
which is going to affect the next generations of our
children, then I'll support that.''
• 3rd Degree, TV3 at 8.40pm tonight.
- David Fisher