A meth rehab programme for Mongrel Mob members has been approved after the applicant argued it would combat a rising number of gang homicides and suicides, and help reduce organised crime.
Details of the H2R Research and Consulting Ltd proposal have been released by the Ministry of Justice.
Kahukura is a meth rehab programme for Mongrel Mob members which received $2.75 million from the Proceeds of Crime Fund.
It is based at Tapairu Marae, outside Waipawa, and involves Sonny Smith, a Mongrel Mob leader who lives in the area, and his wife Mahinaarangi Smith.
Following a successful pilot run independently last year, an initial proposal sought a total of $1.9m ($640,000 per year, over three years), for up to six eight-week programmes.
A more detailed proposal increased this to $2.75m in funding over four years to deliver the programme aimed at addressing methamphetamine (meth) dependency and trauma recovery.
It stated that since the end of the Notorious and Salvation Army Hauora rehabilitation programme in 2017, there had been a "noticeable increase in homicides and suicides" in the Chaindogs, a cluster of Mongrel Mob chapters with a common affiliation to the Notorious chapter in Hawke's Bay.
Between 2018 and 2019, there were seven deaths among Chaindogs members, representing about 18 per cent of suicides in Hawke's Bay.
These homicides and suicides were driven by meth addiction and intergenerational trauma, the proposal stated.
The funding was sought to expand a meth rehabilitation initiative that was piloted in Hawke's Bay late last year, in which 10 men from various Mob chapters showed 100 per cent drug pass results and increased court compliance.
The proposal argued that organised crime would reduce, as "this (gang) chapter has strong leadership that recognises the harm that methamphetamine has caused in the community and is motivated to support members to address their addictions".
"Reducing demand will reduce supply."
It noted that police raids earlier in the year had also already disrupted meth supply in the region.
Kahukura would provide an opportunity to test "Māori designed, developed and delivered innovations" as a solution created by an otherwise hard to reach community.
"It utilises a combination of Māori healing and western therapeutic practices within a marae setting."
The proposal had support from several organisations including Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea, Ministry of Social Development and police - senior members of which were reported to have attended last year's pilot graduation.
A report from the Proceeds of Crime Panel addressed to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as well as ministers Grant Robertson and Chris Faafoi - who signed off on the decision - noted it would involve partnerships with "people actively involved in gangs".
"The panel recognises that funding gangs is controversial but sees a strong gap and need to be addressed through the programmes recommended for funding.
"The programmes will support gang members to build stronger connections to support services and provide opportunities for change."
The panel found it met all four criteria for funding from Proceeds of Crime Fund and recommended the full $2.75m funding be approved.