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'Why is there gang warfare in central Wellington?' - councillor

A Wellington City councillor who lives near the area of an inner city shooting in the capital says there may need to be talks with gang leaders.

Two people were arrested following an incident in Dixon Street.
Photo: RNZ / Jake McKee

Two people are in hospital in a critical condition after two shooting incidents, one in central Wellington and the suburb of Tawa, early Saturday morning.

Seven people have been arrested so far, and police said there could be more.

It is believed the incidents are linked, and gang related.

Iona Pannett has previously run for the Wellington City Council on support from the Greens.
Wellington councillor Iona Pannett. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Councillor Iona Pannett said the incidents were unacceptable and scary.

"We need to ask why there is gang warfare in central Wellington.

"And that means potentially getting the gangs around the table to work on some solutions."

Pannett said shootings like this were very rare in the CBD.

Wellington mayor Andy Foster was optimistic they were isolated incidents.

He said police had told him the those responsible were not from Wellington.

There has been an increase in gang activity nationwide and Wellington was not immune to it, Foster said.

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Wellington Mayor Andy Foster. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

He supported the idea of sitting down and talking to gangs, but would take the police's guidance on the issue.

Foster said council along with the with police, local business owners, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hospitality New Zealand, Wellington City Mission and others last year launched a group Pōneke Promise to tackle violence and disorder issues in the central city.

He said concrete actions included setting up safe drop-in centres on weekend nights, with a new community centre to open shortly.

There had also been increased police patrols and CCTV coverage in the area, Foster said.

source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/465882/why-is-there-gang-warfare-in-central-wellington-councillor