Two patched Mongrel Mob members say they believe new moves to tackle gang harm could lead to more violence and gangs being forced underground.
The Bay of Plenty gang members say change must come from within gangs, using influential members and working hand-in-hand with police.
A local police area commander, however, says the Government's moves provide "welcomed additional tools" to maximise the impact of work to disrupt unlawful gang behaviour.
This week the Government unveiled new laws, including one for firing a gun with intent to intimidate that comes with jail time, following a spate of drive-by shootings in Auckland.
Other steps included expanding the range of offences for vehicles to be impounded; seizing cash over $10,000 when found in suspicious circumstances; additions to the list of high-value goods prohibited for sale for cash over a specified value; and new targeted warrant and additional search powers to find and seize weapons from gang members during a gang conflict.
Police Minister Chris Hipkins said "recent brazen gang activities have been totally unacceptable" and that the Government wanted to hit gangs "where it hurts".
Discussing the changes, a Mongrel Mob member who said he could only speak for himself, said gang members and agencies such as police needed each other to fix the problem.
He said people engaged in criminal activity were already aware they could face seizures of money or property.
But taking items by force may only increase anger within gangs, which he believed could "inflame" situations and lead to increased violence.
He said taking from gang members was one thing, but for real change to happen there needed to be help given in return, including means to actually change their lives.
"People have to help people like that to change because we're not going to do it ourselves."
The man, who would not be named, has served time in prison but said he was reformed and has an honest job, income and lifestyle.
He believed change was possible, but would take time. He said people had to be given chances, which would mean the stereotyping of gang members needed to stop.
"All people have something good in them, it's how you use those qualities to fix someone," he said.
Another member of the gang saw the changes as "another PR stunt" and believed they would "drive more gangs underground", creating more work for police.
He said change within gangs needed to come through influential members.
Several of his "brothers" had made positive changes to their lives and turned them around, and others would follow influential gang members.
"When you've got brothers that are living proof of the change, and they've seen the change, they're going to want to make those changes themselves."
He said he developed a "major" distrust of the system over the years, starting from having the door of his home kicked in when he was a child.
He claimed that, years later, when he was being sentenced, a detective came to him and apologised, but he did not understand.
"Three years later I realised he probably realised the impact he had on me as a kid, kicking in our doors."
Police Minister Chris Hipkins said the measures announced so far "strike the right balance because we know gang life is complex to address".
"They are the latest round of the work the Government has done to tackle organised crime.
"This is why we'll have a dual focus of tackling the harm caused by gangs to make communities safer while also doing more to steer young people away from a life of crime in the first place.
"We do agree with experts that things like banning gang patches would drive gangs underground and make them harder to police."
Rotorua police area commander Inspector Phil Taikato said the changes announced would be operationally beneficial and would work well alongside work being done in the region on Resilience to Organised Crime in Communities (ROCC).
ROCC focused on addressing social drivers of gang memberships and reducing demand for illicit drugs, with agencies engaging with iwi and communities to co-design local responses.
Taikato said it gave police some "welcome additional tools" to maximise the impact of work to disrupt unlawful gang behaviour.
He said it would support the region's police efforts to prevent, suppress, and disrupt gang violence through national operations such as Operation Tauwhiro and Cobalt.
University of Canterbury sociologist and gangs expert Dr Jarrod Gilbert said he was pleased the changes did not "overreach" in the way a range of policies proposed by other policies had.
This included warrantless searches and banning certain groups or activities - which were "fundamentally extreme".
He said the changes were "mature" as they specifically targetted the issues, and were framed in a way to "rightly show" this was not the be-all and end-all of the issues.
He said it was a matter of waiting to see the degree of impact the changes would have.
He said the moves covered criminal behaviour - gang or not - but it would help target the gangs.
"If someone is breaking the law, it doesn't matter if you have a patch on or not, you should be treated in the same way."
Billy Macfarlane, a former drug kingpin who works to reform criminals, said governments had been "soft" on gangs and the problem was "now starting to spiral out of control".
He did not think the answer was discussing this with gangs.
"Does the Government discuss the methamphetamine epidemic with the importers and the dealers?"
He called for gang patches to be outlawed in public.
"Young men and women need to see that life will get harder if they are connected to a gang."
He said gangs currently looked like "a way to live a lavish lifestyle, doing whatever you want to do and slowly pulling rank over the law".
"We need to be very careful how much we pander to this problem and be prepared to crack it open and deal with it right now. In five years' time, maybe even two years it will be too late."
In Te Puke yesterday, National leader Christopher Luxon said the Government's moves were inadequate.
He said National had a four-point plan that included banning gang patches in public places, the ability to serve dispersal notices and non-consorting orders and a crackdown on illegal guns.
"Be under no illusion, gang members take all the rights of being New Zealanders, but they don't hold up to the responsibilities. They inflict pain and suffering and misery to their fellow New Zealanders, so we've got to get a little bit real about it. We've got to get much, much tougher."
The number of patched and prospect gang members nationwide was 7722 as of April 2022, according to the Gang Intelligence Centre's National Gang List.
A regional breakdown was not provided but the previous year the Bay of Plenty count was 1493 gang members.