Gangs encourage members to vote in general election

By Aroha Treacher
  • Auckland

Different gangs are coming together this weekend in Auckland to make sure their voice is heard in this year's General Election. 

"For a long time our people have not really participated in that process mainly because they haven't had good experiences with authority they've generally in the main, thumbed their noses up at it," says Mongrel Mob life member Harry Tam.

"We can change our own predicament as well as the county's and to do that we need to participate in the process."

"Part of this weekend is to address some of those issues that we need to address ourselves and looking ahead at how we can influence the political system to start understanding our needs better," says Tam.

They say they are voting because they want a better future for their next generation.

For the last 26 years Sam Chapman from the Awhi Foundation has been working with gangs and says they've discovered the power of the vote.

"That their voice could be heard within the traditional structures of New Zealand society where as before they never had a voice," says Chapman.

"They woke up one day and they weren't doing the same stuff they were doing before, they weren't going back to prison, they were looking the alternatives to sustainability rather than focus on all the illegitimate stuff."

The Electoral Commission will also be meeting with them over the weekend to assist them with enrollments.