"I don't feel safe."
Wellington National list MP Nicola Willis has issued a challenge for MPs after violence continues to escalate in the capital city.
"I encourage any minister to walk down Courtenay Place, to walk through Manners Mall on any day of the week, at any time, and tell me they feel safe and if they don't feel safe, they need to be doing more to ensure others can."
On her way to caucus, Willis said she felt "really uncomfortable" walking through the city past patched gang members.
"Who are yelling, who are aggressive, it doesn't feel like the Wellington I grew up in and it's not the Wellington I want my kids to grow up in."
The city's safety has been in the spotlight recently after a string of serious assaults, including a fatal assault outside Te Papa earlier this year.
Police data shows the number of sexual assaults in Wellington has increased by nearly 50 per cent in the past five years.
The number of acts intended to cause injury, including common and serious assault, has also grown by 35 per cent over the same period.
Willis said part of the issue regarding increasing sexual assaults could be partly down to social housing in the central city and the Government was not putting in place enough support for people in emergency housing.
However, she believed another factor was the reduction of the use of closed-circuit cameras to monitor the central city.
In a statement, Wellington City Council said there had been no reduction in CCTV monitoring and it had strengthened the programme "to provide the police and Wellington City Council to have a structured and planned approach to how we respond in real-time and/or to emerging issues in the city. The CCTV base has a direct link (two-way radio contact) with the police for immediate response and has been directly instrumental in assisting with arrests."
The City Safety CCTV team oversees 64 cameras in the city.
"I am concerned about the explosion in emergency housing, New Zealand is now spending a million dollars a day putting people in motels. That's not good for them, and it's not good for the taxpayer and we're seeing the results in central Wellington at the moment," Willis said.
"The Government has absolutely failed."
However, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson said across New Zealand there are concerns about gang activity, and they have to work together to make it safer.
"We've invested a significant amount of money in wrap-around services through programmes like Housing First but also through the work of a number of NGOs that we fund."
He said it's important to them that those people are not back on the street.
If she were at the helm, the National housing spokeswoman said she would work with non-government organisations, charities and the City Mission to provide more appropriate housing.
"I'd like to see more houses being built, the Government releasing more houses for development, and more transitional housing. Supported accommodation for people who frankly often have very complex problems.
"And I don't buy the argument that the Government can't afford it."
Willis said gangs were taking advantage of problems within the central city and she was hearing from people on the ground that there were more patched gang members than ever around town.
"And that's because they know there's now a client base, that's vulnerable people that they know they can deal drugs [to]. That's a bad recipe for those vulnerable people."
Last year the Herald revealed the number of gang members and prospective gang members in the region had nearly doubled since 2016.
Minister of Housing Megan Woods has been approached for comment, as has Wellington City Council.