Release: Would the real Police Minister please stand up?

The cracks in the Coalition are deepening as Ministers scramble to avoid responsibility of delivering their promise of 500 more police.

“In almost unbelievable circumstances, it appears the Minister of Police Mark Mitchell doesn’t want to own the commitment of putting more police on the front line,” police spokesperson Ginny Andersen said.

“Instead, his office is now saying it’s Associate Minister of Police Casey Costello who holds responsibility for delivering 500 police officers in two years.”

In the delegation letter from Mark Mitchell to Casey Costello it clearly states that Costello has responsibility for “supporting" Mitchell in "policy development, funding and any necessary Cabinet approval" related to the policy as well as monitoring progress. Her responsibility for the policy was described in the letter as assisting Mitchell, not that she was in charge of it.

“Labour has been asking the Police Minister oral and written questions for weeks about how this will be delivered and Mark Mitchell has responded – which is the job of the Minister responsible,” Ginny Andersen said.

“New Zealanders deserve to know who is responsible for funding and delivering more Police.

“In the first weeks of Parliament it was clear there were disagreements between National and New Zealand First regarding the timeframe for this Coalition promise. Now it seems those cracks are deepening with Mark Mitchell passing the buck to Casey Costello.

“The heat has come on Mark Mitchell as more and more police officers are speaking out about the insult of the Government’s recent pay offer. There are also reports of Christopher Luxon being ‘the laughing stock of the station’ when he did not know how much a new police officer was paid.

“The pressure Police is under to cut costs is now starting to bite, with reports of rural cops losing their accommodation supplement. Sadly, it is these officers in rural areas who will be expected to enforce the government’s gang patch ban. There’s doubt as to whether police will be able to enforce the policy anyway, but they certainly won’t be able to if there aren’t any police officers to do it.

“National campaigned hard and talked tough on restoring law and order. Mark Mitchell even promised that he would resign in a year if New Zealanders did not feel safer, and now he’s running for the hills. Would the real Police Minister please stand up?” Ginny Andersen said.

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