Rising crime a worry

I have held a number of public meetings across the electorate in the last few months and at every one of them, the issue of rising crime has come up.

Many people tell me they no longer feel safe in their homes, in their businesses, or in their communities. This is a terrible state of affairs and it concerns me deeply.

Every week there are reports in the media of more ram raids on businesses, of groups of youths driving or riding illegally on public roads, and of violent attacks on individuals. The massive growth in gang membership is also of significant concern.

The NZ Police have started proactively releasing ram-raid data on their website. Between 1 April 2017 and 30 April 2023, the number of ram-raid incidents has risen sharply – from 119 in 2017 to 891 in 2022.

In May, Foodstuffs North Island reported nearly a 40 per cent increase in retail crime from its supermarkets for the period February to April this year compared to the same period last year, with daily incidents of assault, aggression, threatening behaviour, abuse and theft.

And a poll conducted in late May for the Weekend Herald showed that 95 per cent of Kiwis do not feel as safe as they did five years ago.

This is shocking indictment on the state of law and order in our country and reflects a Government that is soft on crime, with no plan to solve the crisis. Police Minister Ginny Anderson seems to have her head in the sand, making repeated claims in the media that New Zealanders feel safer under Labour. From the facts above, they categorically do not.

I meet with our local Police regularly and we are luckier than most areas in that our Police maintain a very visible presence on our streets. But even the Police are now victims of crime, with assaults on officers almost doubling in the past year across the country. Something is seriously wrong when even frontline Police officers feel unsafe in their communities.

Sadly, we have got to the situation where gangs and criminals feel they can behave with impunity, but this is putting Kiwi lives, businesses and the basic fabric of society at risk.

Unlike Labour, National will not be soft on crime. We will ensure offenders face tougher consequences. We will give the Police more tools and powers to do their jobs effectively and safely. We will crack down on serious repeat youth offenders like ram-raiders to turn their lives around and to protect the public. We will also crack down on gangs by banning gang patches, stopping gangs gathering in public and accessing firearms, and stopping offenders associating with each other.

You can help the Police to crack down on crime by joining one of our local CPNZ groups. Community Patrols of New Zealand is a national organisation of volunteers; they have community patrols in Pukekohe, Waiuku, Pōkeno, Tuakau and Te Kauwhata. They help prevent crime and reduce harm through being active in the community – essentially, they are extra ‘eyes and ears’ for the Police. I have been out at night with these local patrols and they do a fantastic job.

Pictured - the Pōkeno Community Patrol is one of many CPNZ groups around the country – they are all volunteers and play a vital role in keeping our communities safe.