After an increase in this year's Christmas holiday road toll by nearly 40 per cent, now is not the time to cut road policing numbers says Labour's Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.
"Former Police Minister Judith Collins announced last year that the number of officers dedicated to road policing was being slashed by 111, and this number was confirmed by new Police Minister Paula Bennett in December.
“This is a cut of over eight per cent at a time when the road toll is rising, and it is unacceptable.
"The 2016 road toll at 327 is nearly 25 per cent higher than in 2013, so how can the Minister justify taking police off the road at a time when more New Zealanders than ever are dying on our roads?
"Every driver knows that a visible police presence on our highways reduces speed and moderates stupid and dangerous driving behaviour.
"The road toll only tells part of the story. There were also over 3,000 New Zealanders seriously injured in vehicle accidents, so the data shows we actually need more police, not less. To me, such a cut is just part of the overall problem of underfunding of our police force.
"More police, not less, is the only way we are going to address the serious law and order problems facing our communities, including on our roads. It is why Labour has promised 1,000 more police during our first term" says Stuart Nash.
Written question to Minister of Police Paula Bennett
Question 15565: Are there any plans to reduce the number of police primarily involved in road policing over the next 12 months, if so by how many?
Minister: Hon Paula Bennett
Date Lodged: 14/12/2016
Answer Text: I am advised that as signalled in May this year, Police is currently working through a process to reallocate 111 road policing staff positions to focus on other prevention activities.