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National's police promises phoney and dishonest

National's police promises phoney and dishonest

Police Minister Annette King says the National Party's promises to deploy 300 extra frontline police in South Auckland by the end of 2010 are phoney and dishonest.

"The promises are all about smoke and mirrors, and that's the case for a number of reasons," she said.

"Let's put National's policy in perspective. Its policy is really all about an extra 75 police a year across the whole of New Zealand by the end of 2011. "That's about six extra police per police district ---- except, of course, for the fact they are all going to South Auckland.

"National says how good its policy would be for South Auckland, but it doesn't say how bad it would be for the rest of the country. If they intend training just an extra 75 staff a year, they will have to raid other police districts to get an extra 300 staff in South Auckland by the end of 2010. Watch out Otago. Watch out Canterbury. Watch out Wellington. Watch out Bay of Plenty and so on," she said.

"The irony is that police are already refining its cross-Auckland policing strategy to try to ensure police resources are available where they are needed most across all three Auckland police districts --- Counties-Manukau, Auckland and Waitemata. The police know what they need to do. They are the experts. National's policy is not about providing reassurance. It's about creating fear, in South Auckland particularly.

"If National gets its way, and forces the Police Commissioner to do its political bidding, the rest of New Zealand can go to hell in a handcart as far as extra police numbers were concerned."

Ms King says National's policy "is a cruel hoax on New Zealanders, particularly the people of South Auckland, when it says it will cost an extra $18.5 million a year to fund an extra 224 frontline police over three years.

"It is clear the National Party will provide funding for wages and very little else. That's what they did in the 1990s too. The current Government programme to recruit an extra 1250 police over three years is costing about half a billion dollars. That's because we are backing the extra police up with the capital spending they need to be able to do their job properly.

"If National was costing its extra 224 police properly, it would cost $99.6 million over the period, not the $55.5 million they plan to spend. They haven't even factored in the latest 4 percent increase for all police staff. All National says is that police will have to find the extra money somewhere else. What part of policing will be put at risk for that?"

Ms King said National was also prepared to endanger the status of New Zealand Police as an independent organisation. "That independence was enhanced under the Policing Act 2008 which National supported. Politicians cannot decide where police are deployed. That judgment is made by the Police Commissioner.

"National is seeking to politicise the public service by having public servants as part of cabinet committee processes, it is seeking to politicise the national superannuation fund by directing where it invests, and now it wants to make operational police decisions. Talk about nanny state. Where will National's interference end?"

Ms King says National's policy is also dishonest on at least three other counts:

It continues to say that the increase in violence in the past decade is caused by violence on the streets. "That is a lie, pure and simple. The vast bulk of increased violence is occurring in our homes."

"It says only 210 of Labour's 1000 extra frontline staff are headed for the front line. "That's because National persists in defining frontline as staff driving I cars. They don't count police investigating murders. They don't count police attending dangerous family violence offenders. They don't count community police, and that is particularly laughable given the fact it talks of the importance of community reassurance."

"And National also says that there is only one sworn officer for every 521 New Zealanders, and that it will reduce that ratio to 1:500. "That's another complete misrepresentation. The current ratio is 1:508, and it will be 1:504 when Labour's current recruitment phase ends in June next year. The figure of 1:521 is what we inherited from National in 1999."


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