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More police for safer communities

The Issue

Being safe in our homes and safe in our communities is part of the Kiwi dream. Under National, that is under threat. For years, National has under-funded Police and crime is getting out of control.

Since National came to office, population growth and inflation have added a combined 25% to Police costs but Vote Police has risen by just 14%.

There are fewer cops on the beat. Since National came to power, the ratio of Police Officers to population has worsened from 1 for every 488 people to 1 for every 528. There are fewer Police Officers today than there were in 2014, even though the population of New Zealand has grown by 200,000 in the past two years. Community police stations have been closed.

The result has been a massive increase in crime: burglaries are up 32% since August 2014 – that’s an extra 50 burglaries each day. Assaults are up 8% and thefts up 3%, while robberies are up a staggering 66%. Despite promises of a ‘War on P’, that drug is now more readily available and cheaper.

The resolution rate for crimes is falling. Just one in twenty burglaries are now solved and the offender taken to court. Police are stretched too thin to stop crime and catch criminals because National hasn’t given them the funds to do the job.


Labour will:

  • Fund 1,000 more Police Officers and the resources that they need to make our communities safer.
  • Work with Police to tackle the increasing numbers of assaults, sexual assaults, burglaries, robberies, as well as methamphetamine supply. Community policing will be a priority.

Labour will provide funding to increase police numbers each year, with a total increase of 1,000 extra Police Officers in our first term. This will bring the total number of Police Officers to 10,000, which will bring the police to population ratio back below 1 to 500.

Labour will support these additional Police Officers with $180m a year of extra funding. That will mean we not only have the extra officers we need but also the extra support staff, training, and resources they need to do the job.

Labour will work with Police to ensure that these additional Police Officers are concentrated on the crimes that have got out of control under National, and restore community policing. Investigations into assaults and, in particular, sexual assaults will get more police resources so that the criminals who commit these crimes and hurt New Zealanders are brought to justice. Burglaries and robberies will be prioritised so that families and businesses are safe. The suppliers of P will be targeted by giving Police more resources to break the operations that bring the drug into the country.


As well as committing funding for 1,000 more Police, Labour will address the causes of crime through its policies to create more jobs and lift incomes, reduce poverty, make education and training more readily available to young people, and better resourcing for health including mental health and addiction services.