Former Whanganui MP and police officer and Chester Borrows doesn't see National's proposed policing unit for gangs as the best way to address the issue.
National Party leader Simon Bridges announced the proposed policing unit this week, which would be modelled on the Strike Force Raptor unit in New South Wales that handled all gang-related incidents.
The police unit could check for liquor licences if alcohol was served at a gang pad, look at making it illegal for gang members to hang out with other gang members, and inspect tax records for welfare fraud.
A former National Party MP and Court Minister, Borrows said not everything proposed in the policy was bad, but said he has concerns.
"I'm very sceptical about bringing any policing from Australia into New Zealand, because Australia actually can't tell us a lot about human rights, they certainly can't tell us a whole lot about dealing with crime either.
"The police in New Zealand have lots of powers now in any event, and there are lots of gang initiatives which have been across government agency too, so I'm not quite sure what's being proposed is anything new."
He said similar policing efforts had previously been seen in Whanganui.
"It looks pretty much what the Whanganui CIB was doing in Whanganui about 15 or 20 years ago where they almost declared a war on gangs in response to a lot of aggravated robberies and problems, and then pinged [gang members] for every ticket and driving offence they did, as well as the big stuff.
"If it's in an attempt to drive gangs sort of out of town or underground, actually it doesn't seem to work."
Last year Borrows took up a chair position with the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group which engages with the public about New Zealand's criminal justice system, and looks at ways criminal justice can be improved.
Majestic Square makeover: Public invited to give ideas
He said the group's findings show people commit crime, and gangs exist, for a range of reasons.
"Some criminals are very precise and calculated, they groom or select victims and then there's another group of people who are just random," Borrows said.
"The vast majority of people in prisons come from lower decile communities, they're vastly under skilled and under educated, they've been under employed, and the vast majority are the results of failures in the social sector.
"The sorts of stuff we're hearing may well work for some but it won't work for all, and what we don't really see is an understanding that if we want to have really good results in the criminal justice system, we've got to have really good results in education, health and welfare as well."
Whanganui MP Harete Hipango has been approached for comment.