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Parker Must Front Over Crime Stats

Parker Must Front Over Crime Stats

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman and Otago-based MP Gerry Eckhoff today demanded that Otago MP David Parker explain just how his Government intends to address latest crime statistics showing that the region's crime rate has skyrocketed.

"The statistics reveal that Labour has abandoned rural Otago, where crime soared 29 percent between 2001 and 2003," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Not only is crime up, but resolution is low: only 31 percent of property damage offences - up 19.8 percent - are being resolved. Of course, this is not surprising given Labour's constant downsizing of rural Otago police ratios.

"The fact remains that this situation will only worsen as Labour forces farmers to open up their land to unlimited public access.

"For too long, Mr Parker has failed to stand up for the rights of his constituents. We have seen this with his failure to front over Education Minister Trevor Mallard's closure of seven Otago schools - which, now, even Mr Mallard admits was a flawed decision.

"Labour spin won't save Mr Parker this time. He will not be able to wash his hands of this crime wave. Rural Otago is sick of politicians who refuse to fight for them. If Mr Parker isn't prepared to represent the concerns of his community, then he should resign - or expect to be turfed out in 2005," Mr Eckhoff said.

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