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More cops on the beat needed to curb crime

Crime is on the rise in New Zealand. We need more police. There’s no doubt about it. So it’s something of a shock to see National claiming crime is falling and we don’t need more police – as Chester Borrows wrote recently.

In the Taranaki Police Area, burglaries and thefts are up by a quarter in the year to June; assaults on police are up by a third; serious assaults and domestic violence are up 45%; and robberies are up a shocking 70%.

It’s not good enough for National to shrug its shoulders and say there’s no problem.

Safe communities and good policing are vital parts of Labour’s vision for a New Zealand that is a country of opportunity and where everyone can have a fair shot at the Kiwi dream.

That means Police that are properly resourced, so that when New Zealanders need help, they can answer the call.

We need to ensure that families have the freedom and security to live in their homes, that businesspeople can have the freedom to go about their business with confidence, and that people have the freedom to walk in the street without becoming victims of crime.

People have to be safe in order to live the Kiwi dream.

We need more police. We need more cops on the beat.

That’s why I have announced that, in government, Labour will recruit a thousand extra police in our first term.

We’ll boost the total Police Budget in line with the increase in officer numbers. There will be money for extra equipment, cars, non-sworn staff, training and all the other things we need to support our Police on the front line.

Police have been underfunded by National for years. There are fewer Police Officers today than there were two years ago, even though population growth means there are 200,000 more New Zealanders. The thin blue line is stretched to breaking point.

This isn’t an isolated problem. It is part of National’s philosophy of starving vital public services of the money they need. The same underfunding has been happening in our schools, our hospitals and our housing sector.

And every time it happens, the community suffers.

  • Longer waiting lists for vital operations and people dying because our hospitals can’t afford the latest medicines;
  • Schools relying on donations to provide the education our kids deserve;
  • A housing crisis that is destroying the Kiwi Dream of homeownership and forcing families to live in cars;
  • More crime leaving New Zealanders feeling unsafe in their homes, at their places of work, and on the streets.

For the good of New Zealand, that has to change.

Labour will invest in the public services that New Zealanders need. We’ll invest in health, in education, and in housing. And we’ll invest in Police.

1,000 more Police will mean more foot patrols and more community policing, which will help prevent crime before it happens. It will also mean more staff to catch the criminals behind the surge in violent and invasive crimes.

Labour will back our Police to get back on top of crime, and restore safety to our communities.

The Kaikoura Earthquakes

Andrew Little on November 14, 2016

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