The father of murdered man Israel Jack says his son may well be alive today if New Zealand had followed Australia and taken a tough stance on gangs.

Queensland's Government is set to outlaw New Zealand-based gang the Mongrel Mob in a bid to strike out organised crime in the state.

The Mongrel Mob, mainly based on the Gold Coast, will become the 28th organisation to be outlawed under the Serious and Organised Crime Legislation Amendment Act.

Read more: Israel Jack case: $10,000 reward offered for conviction of Rotorua man's killers
Finger pointed at gang over Israel Jack's murder in Rotorua
Opinion: Let's not make Israel Jack's murder in Rotorua a cold case

Advertisement

In New Zealand, it is illegal to wear gang patches in certain public places, but it is not against the law to be in a gang.

Police Minister Stuart Nash and Rotorua MPs approached by the Rotorua Daily Post have backed Australia's tough stance but not enough to push forward similar legislation.

In the past two weeks, new information has led to gangs being implicated in two Rotorua-based unsolved murders.

Bike gangs or their associates in Auckland or Hamilton are now thought to be behind the mysterious disappearance of hitchhiker Mona Blades in 1975. The twist in the case came about following a television documentary showing a new investigation had found police possibly overlooked crucial evidence.

In the case of Israel Jack, his father publicly revealed just over a week ago he believed a Rotorua gang was behind his son's murder on August 18, 2013. Police also acknowledged for the first time that that was "probably" the case.

Since the publicity in the Rotorua Daily Post, an anonymous person has contacted the newspaper and offered a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the conviction or convictions of the killers. Also since publicity, police have agreed to "reassess" the case and speak again to some people involved.

Related articles:

ROTORUA DAILY POST
28 Jul, 2018 6:00am
8 minutes to read
ROTORUA DAILY POST
1 Aug, 2018 8:30am
4 minutes to read
ROTORUA DAILY POST
31 Jul, 2018 5:00am
2 minutes to read
ROTORUA DAILY POST
4 Aug, 2018 10:24am
4 minutes to read

Jack's body was found lying on Te Ngae Rd, between Pohutukawa Dr and Robinson Ave, at 4.25am after it had been run over by two vehicles, not linked to his killing.

Police said his death was considered a homicide because just under five minutes earlier, at 4.20am, he was seen on security camera footage leaving Caltex Te Ngae, 1.4km from where his body was found. Police said he could not have walked that distance in that time.

Rendall Jack, near the site where his son's murdered body was found on Te Ngae Rd, near the tribute to stray dog Harawene. Photo / File
Rendall Jack, near the site where his son's murdered body was found on Te Ngae Rd, near the tribute to stray dog Harawene. Photo / File

Rendall Jack said he had information his son was set upon by a group of gang members after he left the Caltex Te Ngae. His body was then left lying across the road just minutes before he was unwittingly run over twice.

He said gang activity in Rotorua in the hours leading up to his son's death spurred on the killing of his son, who was in no way linked to any gangs or knew his killers.

"Some time prior to the gutless gang attack on my son, gang members and prospects wearing their regalia and dressed to intimidate were consorting at the Mobil service station on Te Ngae Rd in Rotorua.

"It was clear they had intentions and if they were outlawed as in some Australian states then my son may well be alive today - plain and simple."

Rendall Jack said New Zealand instead continued to hide the shame of what he considered was a growing gang culture that consumed police resources.

"They are territorial and want to be seen. Regalia, colours and patches portray an image to feed their perverted egos. To take away their legal right to intimidate this way or wear regalia is to hit them where it hurts.

"They are or are training to be criminals in an organised criminal gang producing, dealing and distributing illegal drugs. The underbelly of criminal gangs in New Zealand is where terrorism really occurs and Australia knows this."

His calls are backed by Rotorua district councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, who holds the People Portfolio within the council.

She said gang life was often substitued for poor families and for several years New Zealand had tolerated gangs for that reason.

In Australia, the hard line meant New Zealanders in gangs were no long welcome.

"I applaud the Australians, they are saying 'We don't think you are going to add value in our country so bugger off back to New Zealand' ... You don't mess with the police in Australia, they send out a clear signal and we should do it here too."

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the Mongrel Mob and 34 other gangs were already prohibited from wearing patches or other regalia in public.

"Gang members are free to live their lives in the community if they obey the law and are not involved in criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.

"The Government and New Zealand Police are focused on disrupting organised crime networks and preventing criminal organisations gaining a foothold in communities."

The Rotorua Daily Post asked local MPs to answer yes or no whether they supported New Zealand introducing similar legislation to Australia.

New Zealand First list MP Fletcher Tabuteau gave a definitive answer, saying, "Hell yes I support it".

Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey answered by saying, "Let's be clear, I tautoko any legislation that leads to safer communities for our whānau and lifting aspirations for our people, especially rangatahi Māori".

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said he would support a criminal gang ban if it was shown to be effective. He said National's justice spokesman, Mark Mitchell, a former policeman, had said he wanted to take a closer look at Queensland's ban to see if it could work here and he would work with him on that.

McClay said he introduced legislation to Parliament in 2013 to ban gang patches from government buildings including schools and hospitals.

"It has been effective with Rotorua police making a number of arrests and destroying gang patches because of my law."