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UF calls for Fire, emergency Minister, looting law

UF calls for Fire, emergency Minister and looting laws

United Future is calling for a Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, new law and harsher penalties for looting, and the possible return of regional level police communications centres to bring local police knowledge back into emergency call-outs.

“We want the fire and emergency services unified at a policy and funding level and stripped away from Internal Affairs,” spokesman Marc Alexander said in announcing United Future’s emergency and Civil Defence services policy.

“This streamlining would help them work jointly or individually, as required, in times of local or larger emergencies. It’s about giving these life-saving authorities the distinct government attention they deserve and have too often have lacked.

“We have seen enough disasters in the last year or two for everyone to see the importance of resourcing them with the capacity to respond quickly and efficiently,” Mr Alexander said.

He said the call for a law and harsh penalties specifically for looting was a clear response to society’s need to protect those in the middle of a disaster.

“There is no room for looting. It is a disgraceful crime striking people at a time of great vulnerability and only compounding their distress and misfortune. We simply want a law that acknowledges that and deals with it,” he said.

Current law is deficient, he said, with only members of the Armed Forces able to be charged specifically with looting.

United Future’s policy also includes government committing to matching public donations to national disaster relief funds dollar for dollar.

“The Government has responded to United Future’s lead on this after recent floods, but basically, we are saying let’s put it in place as an ongoing commitment when disaster strikes, so communities can know that they will be supported in this way. It is very much about codifying a value that is essentially very Kiwi,” he said.


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