The National Party has again taken aim at the Government over gang-related drug rehab funding after a video re-surfaced of lifetime Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam urging fellow members not to vote National.
Tam made headlines in recent weeks after the Labour Party funded nearly $3 million for Mongrel Mob-led drug rehab initiative in Hawke's Bay, Kahukura, a programme spearheaded by Tam.
National Party MP Simon Bridges told Hawke's Bay Today that Tam understood National would "go after gangs like no other party".
"The video shows that and also that he's not quite the butter wouldn't melt in your mouth guy he's tried to say he is in media lately, as he's been taking big money from the taxpayers' purse."
Hawke's Bay Today approached Tam but he declined to comment on the video.
Nicole McKee, ACT's Justice spokesperson, said Tam knew the current government was "soft on crime".
"It's no wonder he's campaigning Labour. Gang numbers have increased by 50 per cent under Jacinda Ardern's watch.
"We can't keep sending a message to the gangs that their behaviour is okay, that's what Jacinda Ardern has done and that's why the gangs campaign for her."
Tukituki Labour MP Anna Lorck rejected the claim of gang members campaigning for Labour.
Funding to help people get off drugs had been in place for "years and across successive governments," Lorck said.
"The funding that was granted to H2R was based on a programme the National government developed with the Notorious Chapter of the Mongrel Mob to deliver as part of John Key's Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan. What any individual says about voting is a matter for them."
Lorck said it was important to note that H2R funding was recommended by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, Corrections, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Education, Police, Treasury, Oranga Tamariki and the Chief Science Advisor and local Hawke's Bay Police support as well. The support of local Police was a key factor in the programme getting funded.
While Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn't respond directly to the video she did respond to the programme.
"The point I'll make on this particular programme: this programme is based on a programme that was run back in 2010 as part of the then National Government's methamphetamine action plan," Ardern said.
"It is very much focused on trying to address meth addiction and the crime that often results from meth addiction.
"So this, I'd say, is an example of where this kind of programme has happened before - it is not new - and it would be a shame to see a political party who once supported addressing meth addiction and crime-related meth addiction from stepping away from that, as appears to now be the case."
National's Social Development and Employment spokesperson, Louise Upston, said she had watched the video, and thought Hawke's Bay communities had been coping with increased gang violence for a few years now.
"It is certainly not a good look for the Prime Minister and Labour to have gangs expressing that they know they'll get a much easier ride under their Government. There is a reason why gang members don't vote National."