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Government Cuts Unbelievably Target Child Exploitation, Violent Extremism, Ports And Airports

Some of our country’s most important work, stopping the sexual exploitation of children and violent extremism could go along with staff on the frontline at ports and airports.

“Today we’ve learned that 79 positions are on the chopping block at Customs and 41 at the Department of Internal Affairs,” Labour Leader Chris Hipkins said.

“It includes staff in the child exploitation team, as well as roles combatting violent extremism and money laundering at the Department of Internal Affairs. Frontline staff at ports and airports have also been confirmed, including more than halving Auckland’s detector dog trainers.

“This shows nothing is safe from the National Government’s cuts.

“Today’s job losses are not only an appalling lack of judgement by a Government that claims its serious about cracking down on crime, it shows they also aren’t serious about tackling the tobacco black market as they claimed during the roll-back of the tobacco legislation.

“It brings the total job cuts to about 3150. That’s over 3000 households affected by a Government desperately scrambling to pay for irresponsible tax cuts with frontline jobs. This is a choice and the choice is not worth it.

“The digital child exploitation team leads important work cracking down on criminals and is New Zealand’s bridge to international law enforcement agencies. It identified more than 90,000 online accounts that traded or possessed child sexual abuse material in a single mission in 2022 and 46 people based in New Zealand were arrested as a result.

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“The idea that roles of this kind should be scrapped is not only bizarre, it’s frankly appalling. National is going too far, placing huge risk back on children and young people not just on our shores but further afield.

“We have heard time and time again that frontline services will not be cut, but now we have a hiring freeze imposed on already short-staffed hospitals, children are being forgotten as Oranga Tamariki shrinks, and education outcomes will be kicked to the curb along with roles working on the school lunch programme and in the school property team.

“This National Government’s choices are taking New Zealand backwards,” Chris Hipkins said.

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