A Mongrel Mob leader involved in a drug rehabilitation programme which got $2.75 million from the Government is subject to a six-month suspended sentence for a stun gun found after a police search at his home.
A stun gun constructed to look like a torch was found in the bedside drawer of Central Hawke's Bay Mongrel Mob president Sonny Smith's Waipawa home during a police search on February 10.
It led to the 57-year-old appearing in the Waipukurau District Court last month where he denied knowledge of the item.
Appearing before Judge Bridget Mackintosh on June 21, he said, "I didn't even know what it was, I didn't even know it was there. I just want to get this dealt with."
Judge Mackintosh described the offending as "lower end" and said Smith, who did two years' jail time for an attack on a fellow gang member in 2010, appeared to have "been out of trouble for a long time now".
Smith was convicted and given a six-month suspended sentence with an order made for the destruction of the weapon.
Smith is understood to be a key figure in the new Kahukura programme - a live-in mārae-based project aimed at addressing trauma and drug-seeking behaviour - with invitations to its launch at Tapairu Marae signed off by Smith and his wife, Mahinaarangi.
Stuff reported that parts of the programme would include activities off the marae, like "gardening work" at Smith's house, exercising at a gym in Waipukurau , "morning walks along the Mataweka River", "a fishing trip on a boat on the Napier harbour", and attending Narcotics Anonymous in Hastings.
The Ministry of Health applied for the funding after receiving a request from H2R (Hard to Reach) about its intention to work with a collective of Mongrel Mob chapters, following a "successful pilot" last year.
Prime Minister Ardern defended her and ministers Grant Robertson, Poto Williams and Kris Faafoi's decision to approve nearly $3m of funding from the Proceeds of Crime fund for the programme after the funding was revealed by Hawke's Bay Today on Monday.
"We either make a decision to fund programmes which, yes, involve people with criminal history but we are determined to address their methamphetamine addiction, or we exclude people with criminal histories from meth addiction programmes."
The National Party and conservative critics have labelled the funding decision as "outrageous", "stupid" and a "sick joke".
National Party spokesman for police Simeon Brown on Tuesday announced plans to introduce a private member's bill to prevent government funding being granted to organised crime units, either directly or indirectly.
Hawke's Bay Today has approached people involved with the programme for further information about what it involves but have not received a response.
The Ministry of Health has also been approached for further comment.
Kahukura is expected to run for three cycles of 10 weeks per year over three years, serving up to 10 participants and their whānau - about 40 people - per cycle.