Police Minister Stuart Nash announces patch ban on New Zealand's newest gang

The symbol of Australia's most dangerous gang has been added to the list of patches banned in government buildings in New Zealand.

This means members of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club will not be able to wear their condor patch in court buildings, WINZ offices, libraries, schools, hospitals - even public swimming pools.

The Herald on Sunday recently revealed the Comancheros had established a chapter in New Zealand, after senior members were deported from Australia.

Police Minister and Napier MP Stuart Nash announced the Comanchero patch would be added to the list of insignia banned by a law which came into force nearly five years ago.


"Its members are an organised crime group with global reach and networks. They are involved in the manufacture and supply of illicit drugs and use money laundering and commercial businesses to conceal the proceeds of crime.

"We need to make all efforts to disrupt the activities of this gang and others, and to reduce the harm they cause in our communities.

"Gang insignia is intended to intimidate the public and other gangs. It is designed to claim ownership of a physical space and to encourage the recruitment of gang prospects. We will not allow the CMC to advertise its presence in this way.

"Restricting the display of gang patches, by itself, will not prevent the harm caused by organised crime groups. However, when combined with other initiatives, such as enforcement and prevention, it will contribute to a safer community," Nash says.

The condor symbol of the Comancheros. Photo / Supplied
The condor symbol of the Comancheros. Photo / Supplied

The prohibition on the Comanchero patch comes into force next month and takes the total number of gangs with prohibited insignia to 35.

There have been 14 patched members of the Comancheros - whose former president Mick Hawi was gunned down in cold blood in February - deported to New Zealand under immigration laws introduced in Australia.

They are among the hundreds of deportees, nicknamed "501s" because of the section of the immigration law, removed on "good character" grounds and sent to New Zealand where they were born.

For several years, the police have warned of how these "Kiwis" - many of whom had lived in Australia for all their lives - would return to commit crimes and bolster the professionalism of the New Zealand underworld.