An already notorious boxing tournament between rival gangs has Whangarei's NZ First candidate Shane Jones watching his hoardings and Democrats for Social Credit's Chris Leitch describing the event as "peaceful, non-violent communications".

Mr Jones pulled no punches when he described Te Tai Tokerau Fight Night, which attracted more than 300 rival gang members and supporters to Portland, near Whangarei, last Saturday, as "criminal tourism".

"Such events in our region ought to be legally outlawed and I will be promoting such an outcome," he said.

He also said he would have liked "to drop a nuke" on the event that promoted itself as a means to end inter-gang violence.


It was "perverse logic" when gangs continued to sell P "and kill the rest of the community", Mr Jones said.

At least one gang leader, understood to be with the Head Hunters, has fought back, threatening to not only encourage the withdrawal of votes NZ First might otherwise have earned in Whangarei, but to destroy all Mr Jones' election hoardings.

The gang member, who would only be named as "Herbert", said Mr Jones could now say goodbye to a large chunk of the local Maori vote. He said he and other gang members were "very hurt" about someone wanting to nuke innocent people.

Mr Jones told the Northern Advocate he could handle the heat he has received on social media about his suggestion New Zealand getting a nuclear bomb off North Korea and drop on the fight venue, but counter threats about ripping down his hoardings were concerning.

"They cost hundreds of dollars a pop," he said.

People would not want to donate to the billboards' costs or offer other support only to see them ruined, he said.

Mr Leitch described Te Tai Tokerau Fight Night as: "A first useful step towards non-violent communication between rival gangs and a peaceful event which should be seen as a platform to build on."

He wants the gangs invited back for a series of hui to address issues that contribute to gang involvement, such as unemployment, poor education, alcohol, drugs and violence.

"Flights of fancy from the media darling of the moment, Shane Jones, is [sic] not going to solve the problem, either."


Mr Leitch said Mr Jones needed to come up with constructive solutions, "because glib media headlines won't cut it."

Among his own solutions to gang related problems would be to pressure the Government to reinstate funding it cut from the Salvation Army's drug programme, and reverse the $3 million cut for agencies dealing with youth crime and gang prevention.

Mr Jones said he would put up his hoardings in the next couple of weeks.