Government is proposing drug detection dogs at domestic airports and increased surveillance of gang members as part of a raft of new measures to tackle gang-related crime.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said gang-related crime increased 15 per cent in 2013, going against a trend of falling crime rates in New Zealand.

Gang members were also responsible for a quarter of all homicide charges.

Mrs Tolley said Government could not "arrest our way out of this issue" and needed to take a broad-ranging approach which took into account the social factors behind gangs.


"We want to ensure that Police and other agencies have the tools they need to hold gangs to account, while breaking the cycle of offending by preventing young people from joining these organisations, and helping current members to exit gang life."

The Minister announced four new measures:

- a multi-agency gang intelligence centre based at police national headquarters.

- new social initiatives to help gang members break away from organised crime.

- two new taskforces to focus on restricting serious gang members' international travel and block trafficking of drugs.

- law changes to allow firearms bans and GPS monitoring.

Government wanted to give authorities power to monitor gang members with GPS monitoring bracelets for two years after their release from prison.

The new taskforces would look at ways to block drug shipments and precursors from moving around the country. This could involve drug dogs at domestic airports, ferry terminals and other key ports.


Mrs Tolley said: "Gangs don't need to be a fact of life in New Zealand. They are criminal organisations, and inflict serious harm on anyone who comes into contact with them."