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True cost of extra police doubles

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

10 December 2006

True cost of extra police doubles to $1 billion plus

Labour has hidden the real cost of its deal with NZ First to put 1,000 extra police on the beat, which is more than double the $500 million they announced in the budget, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“Treasury papers reveal that in addition to the direct costs of hiring the extra police, the flow-on costs to other agencies in the justice sector such as Courts and Corrections will be another $721 million.

“As Treasury argues ‘The more crime detection that police engage in, the greater will be the requirement to increase the capacity of courts and jails.’

“These hidden costs are the price of NZ First’s support on confidence and supply.

“And it’s not as if the justice sector isn’t already struggling, as Treasury notes that ‘The fiscal impact of deploying 1,000 additional front line police over a three year period will create substantive demand pressures on agencies which are already having difficulty dealing with forecast pressures’.”

Looking at prison construction alone, Treasury states that more than 900 extra prison beds may be needed, at a capital cost of approximately $300 million.

“Labour’s plans to reduce the prison population by letting them out of jail will also be undermined by their deal with NZ First, as Treasury note that it is ‘highly unlikely that there are any short term measures available which might materially reduce the costs estimated to impact as a consequence of the first tranche of additional police’,” says Mr Power.

“Policy co-ordination and planning will suffer because of this political horse-trading.

“Treasury state that no contingency has been set aside to fund the costs to the rest of the Justice sector, and that ‘there is a very high probability that between-Budget spending requests will arise from Justice sector agencies as they mobilise to accommodate increased demand pressures.’

“National is in favour of putting more police on the beat, but we have consistently argued that this short term gimmick of 1,000 extra cops was always going to create problems.

“As Helen Clark said in August last year: 'Some political parties are promising thousands of new police. Such promises are simply not credible'. "

Ends

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