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Nats Police Policy Shortsighted

Media Release

20 October 2008

Nats Police Policy Shortsighted

National’s policing policy is short-sighted and represents a cut in the numbers agreed to by New Zealand First and the Government, says the party’s law and order spokesperson Ron Mark.

“National’s policy, far from increasing police numbers, actually cuts the increase in officers New Zealand First and the Government are working towards,” said Mr Mark.

“Our confidence and supply agreement with the Government states that in addition to 1000 extra police staff by mid 2009, we would work towards “achieving ratios comparable with those in Australia by 2010”. National’s policy aims for a ratio of 1:500 which is far short of the Australia’s rate of 1:480, and is a cut on what we are working towards.

“Such a move is fitting of a party that has a history of slashing police numbers, such as they did in the 1990’s when they cut 500 officers to pay for their $110 million dollar INCIS failure.

“Further, while National now supports the 1000 extra police secured by New Zealand First, after initially labelling it a ‘gimmick’, it does not change the fact that they actively opposed the increase, and voted against the necessary funding every time.

“It is also concerning that National’s plan to send 300 officers to South Auckland effectively strips officers from other communities where they are desperately needed. This is not only ridiculous, but dangerous. If officers are relocated to Auckland, criminals will take advantage of their absence in other areas and crime will mushroom across other towns and cities.

“What is needed is to continue to increase officer numbers substantially, as New Zealand First has committed to do. We believe an increase similar to the 1000 extra police already on the streets is achievable and necessary.

“The policy yet again reinforces the fact the National party cannot be trusted to walk their talk on law and order. Whether it is talking about getting tough on gangs but voting against a ban on gang tattoos on human rights grounds or talking tough on youth crime but voting against my bill to combat youth offending, National’s actions don’t match their rhetoric.

“If Kiwis want safer communities, they need look no further than New Zealand First. We remain steadfastly committed to addressing the lawlessness on our streets,” said Mr Mark.

ENDS

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