More Frontline Police on the Way
More Frontline Police on the Way
MP for Papakura
Minister of Police, Minister of Corrections, Minister of Veterans Affairs
Counties-Manukau is a great place to live. People continue to be drawn by the opportunities, the vibrant cultural diversity, and the friendliness of the people and the buzz of living in one of the country’s fastest growing districts.
But that diversity brings special problems. In recent years, the Counties-Manukau policing district covering an extensive area including townships such as Manukau, Wattle Downs, Botany, Howick, Beachlands, Papakura, Pukekohe and Takanini, to name just a few, has become one of the districts in New Zealand.
Total crime has increased 14.1% over the past five years against a national decrease of 2.3%. Violent crime has increased by 60% over the same period against a national increase of 26%.
The past three years have seen a significant increase in the numbers of youth gangs. Homicides are now heart-breakingly common.
It is time to do something about it.
During the election campaign, this government promised to commit 300 additional police officers to frontline roles by the end of 2010.
That’s a promise we intend to keep. We owe it to the people of Counties-Manukau to ensure police have the resources to keep the streets safe from violence and intimidation.
This week, the police began planning for more police in Counties-Manukau under the direction of Police Deputy Commissioner Operations, Rob Pope. This is a speedy response by police to our policy, and I commend them for their decisive action.
Police will develop a plan to ensure that when the extra police arrive, they will be deployed in a way that best ensures community safety and reduces crime.
This will lead to a police service that is better able to respond to crime and whose visible presence deters crime in the district.
The plan will build on the many great things that are happening in the district. It will make it an even better place to live than it is now!
Habitat for Humanity – the spirit of pitching in
The strength of a community can be measured by its willingness to get stuck in and help those in need.
Takanini is a community where people still believe in the spirit of generosity and goodwill. On December 14 I was delighted to be invited along to the completion of an incredible project by local volunteers and businesses.
Over two months, Habitat for Humanity Greater Auckland had co-ordinated the build of a new home for Frances Taka and her children.
Thanks to hundreds of hours of volunteer labour, the house was finished in time for Christmas.
Habitat for Humanity is great organisation that gives working families the chance to get into their own home. This not-for-profit organisation co-ordinates teams of skilled volunteers to build or renovate homes. In return, the families that benefit agree to undertake 500 hours of community service.
It’s a hand up, not a hand out where the whole community benefits.
It was great see corporate sponsors get behind this fantastic initiative. As well as the main sponsor, AMP, other companies such as Dulux, Cerebos, Genesis and Noel Leeming all pitched in.
Air New Zealand supplied a team of 17 for the week, and then there were the many other volunteers who so generously lent their time and their skills to the build.
I hope Frances and her family enjoy their beautiful new home. I would urge anyone with the time or skills to get involved in Habitat for Humanity.
That’s what community spirit is all about.
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to attend the final parade of the Long Range Desert Group through the streets of Papakura.
The LRDG was a unit of brave men who faced incredible danger fighting behind enemy lines in the Second World War. It was an honour to be among these heroes.
The parade was a fitting end to a very busy year. Like most of you, I’m looking forward to taking some time out to relax and spend time with my family.
Holidays are a good time to reflect on the year that has been, and what lies ahead in 2009. The economic news has not been all good, and 2009 could be a challenging year.
Despite this, in the Papakura Electorate, people tell me they are feeling optimistic. I’m especially heartened when they tell me they think the country is back on the right track.
I truly believe 2009 will be a year of challenge and opportunity. New Zealanders are resourceful people, and I’m sure we will emerge from the tough times stronger, wiser and better able to build a brighter future.
During this time, we should spare a thought for the men and women whose job it is to keep us safe, and who will be hard at work over the holiday season.
While we are enjoying time with our families, the Police and Corrections staff will be on duty. To them, I extend a special thanks and best wishes.
To you all, I wish you a happy and safe Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.
MP for Papakura