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Hawkins Speech: Opening Of Great Barrier Police St

George Hawkins: Speech Opening Of Great Barrier Police Station.

Good morning and welcome to you all.

A warm welcome to members of local iwi

to Commissioner Rob Robinson and his wife

to my Ministerial colleague the Honorable Judith Tizard:

and to my parliamentary colleagues, Deputy Speaker Ann Hartley and Helen Duncan.

Welcome also to local community leaders, and to other members of the Great Barrier Island Community.

I'm told Great Barrier's usual resident population is around 1300 and it looks as if most of you have turned out today.

It's great to see so many locals here.

Thank you all for taking the time to celebrate the opening of Great Barrier's newest community asset.

And a very special welcome also to members of the police here today.

It's especially gratifying that so many former police who have served on the Island can be with us for this opening.

Great Barrier is among the first New Zealand Police Stations to be completed this millennium.

I'm glad to say there's others in the pipeline.

While there are many ways government can spend money on police are many and varied, one of the most satisfying is investing in police property.

A solid and committed police capital works programme ensures staff enjoy comfortable, satisfying conditions in which to carry out the important work they do.

I am pleased to say that the current government is investing around $12 million per year on the refurbishment and rebuilding of stations nationwide.

People sometimes ask me why the commitment to spend around $60 million over five years to rebuild and refurbish police stations?

The answer's simple.

Police staff need and deserve good working conditions, and this includes modern police stations that will meet their needs.

Today it's Great Barrier's turn.

Shortly the communities of Manurewa, Howick, Invercargill, and Oamaru, will celebrate opening new stations in their areas.

Those of you who knew the previous station will remember it was a fairly basic set up.

It was run down and badly showing its age. Some people were as unkind to describe it as unlovely.

For the past 20 years a sole Constable has operated out of a small one room office.

Police staff and their families who worked here over the years have put up with a lot.

No doubt few of you will be shedding many tears for the demise of the old, cramped buildings you worked out of for so many years.

Great Barrier police waited a long time for new premises because the station had been on the books for replacement for many years.

I'm glad to say that day's finally arrived.

The opening of this station is in response to a number of other factors as well.

One is the unique challenges Great Barrier presents to Police.

While the Island's permanent resident numbers may be small, as everyone knows the population of the island explodes during the summer holiday season.

Great Barrier is a favourite summer destination, particularly with boaties.

It's then police work load on the Island increases not only in volume but in complexity as well.

That's not to say that crime has increased dramatically, but the situation in the past has been that Police were the Island's only fulltime enforcement agency.

That meant the sole officers over the years have been required to be jacks of all trades.

They were expected to do every duty from Search and Rescue to basic document serving.

And all from cramped premises that had long past their use by date.

I'm delighted to say Police in this area have a record of which they can be proud.

But obviously it was a situation that could not be allowed to go on.

Today Great Barrier has a second Constable to join Roger Bright already on the job, and fine new facilities.

The appointment of Kylie Robbins, is as you all know, historic in itself.

Not only does Kylie's presence mark the first time an additional constable has been appointed to the island, but it 's the first time a woman officer has been placed here.

It's wonderful her appointment coincides with the opening of markedly better working conditions.

My congratulations to those who worked on the building, the design team, the contractors and subbies. You've done a marvellous job. I'm told already requests have come in for other Government agencies to be able to work out of the Station at various times of the year.

Co-operation like this has been going on for years, but the difference now is that the previous cramped conditions are a thing of the past.

I've no doubt staff will find their work easier because they have a decent place from which to do their job.

Thank you.

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