A 30 per cent increase in gang activity in the Eastern District has created a region which is even more awash with drugs than it was two years ago, police say.
Figures released by Police Minister Stuart Nash through written parliamentary questions showed a jump from 801 Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti gang members in 2017, to 1041 to the end of August this year.
Roughly one in six of New Zealand's gang members now live in the Eastern District.
Across the country, gang membership has increased from 5343 to 6729 people.
Eastern District prevention manager Inspector Dean Clifford said there