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Deployment Must Not Hurt New Zealand

Monday 30 Jun 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today called on Police Minister George Hawkins to fast-track the recruitment of the 50 additional police officers signalled in last month's Budget, in the face of the deployment of New Zealand police to the Solomon Islands.

"In the recent Budget, the Labour Government signalled that it would recruit additional police officers to help combat the growing police shortages and rising drug crime," Dr Newman said.

"The problem was that these new positions were not to start until January 2004. In light of that, and the fact that police are to be sent to help restore law and order in the Solomons, the Minister of Finance should make that funding available now.

"Maintaining law and order is a key role of any government, and it is up to Mr Hawkins to ensure that this deployment will not be to the detriment of law-abiding New Zealanders. While ACT supports this deployment, we are still mindful of the effect that it could have on the community.

"Labour's record of policing is disappointing, at best. The squeeze on police funding has resulted in a shortage of sworn officers, and police warning that they are not able to keep up with the rising tide of crime.

"I am calling on the Minister to begin his recruitment drive immediately, to ensure that the deployment of police officers to the Solomon Islands will not compromise the safety of New Zealanders at home," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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