Gangs involved in the fall of socialite Lynne Carter have been slammed as "bloody evil bastards" by police minister Judith Collins, who has vowed to do all she can to crush them.
"They [gangs] are not harmless rebels which some people like to think they are. They are bloody evil bastards. They are only there for one thing and that is to make money out of crime."
Her comments follow the Herald on Sunday's investigation into the turmoil which struck property developer Carter after her life was invaded by gang members linked to the Head Hunters and King Cobras.
They imposed themselves on Carter after her son Lance became involved in methamphetamine use. After offering to provide protection for her son while he was in police cells, the gang member took over Carter's home, her cars and life. She fled New Zealand in fear. Carter, who was too scared to go to police, has since been charged with possession of methamphetamine and credit card fraud.
New laws before Parliament will, if passed, give police greater powers to investigate and prosecute gangs.
Collins urged anyone finding themselves in the same position as Carter to seek help from the police. "The police will act. If you don't trust the police, the gangs will take over. Please trust the police."
Collins said she had assured police commissioner Howard Broad that his officers had her full support "when they have to make decisions in relation to gangs that may be unpalatable to the hand-wringing people".
The Head Hunters - who figured in Carter's downfall - were "one of the more dangerous gangs", with links to overseas organised crime, Collins said.
Collins said the Carter case illustrated the burden carried by many families: gangs targeting families to gain access to others.
"They are after our children. Then they destroy those people, their lives and their families. "They add nothing to our society other than misery. If people decide they are not going to accept them, they will eventually die out. But it will not happen unless people stop tolerating them."
Lynne Carter was incorrectly reported last week to have been married to Rod Haines. In fact, the two were in a relationship and lived together until 1999, but were not married.