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Give rural NZ a voice in 111 review - National

Give rural NZ a voice in 111 review - National

“The Government should move to give rural New Zealanders a voice in the review of the 111 system,” says National Party Law and Order spokesman Tony Ryall.

He is commenting in the wake of strong criticism of the service by Te Puke home invasion victim Mrs Maggie Bentley.

It comes just as the police set up an independent review into the handling of emergency calls, following mistakes made in the case of missing Auckland woman Iraena Asher, and others.

“National thinks rural New Zealanders have a right to be represented because they have different needs,” says Mr Ryall.

“Many country people are at risk from home invasions with no near neighbours and the local police an hour away.

“The recent home invasion in Te Puke shows how stretched the current system is, and how it takes too long for many rural people to get police service.

“Right now, around the country, farmers are debating how best to protect themselves from intruders because of police shortages and delays. I have never seen such widespread concern in rural communities.

“Police have a 10 minute response time in the cities, but no practical timeframes in the rural areas. Police protection should not have to stop at the suburbs. We need enough police to cover Te Puke and Piha, not just Parnell and Ponsonby.

“The quality of the 111 service is too important to leave to a small group of overseas police officers and consultants. Rural New Zealand must be represented,” Mr Ryall says.

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