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The Government’s need to put Winston Peters first might be responsible for a major reduction in the number of inspectors charged with investigating child sex offences, National’s Finance Spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“In spite of having a billion dollars to throw at foreign aid and diplomats and $2.8 billion to make university free, the Government’s priorities have led to a reduction by one third of frontline staff in a critical unit charged with protecting the most vulnerable New Zealanders.

“The Department of Internal Affairs has said it will have to slash the number of fully trained inspectors from its censorship unit who are charged with investigating the creation and distribution of child sex imagery.

“DIA’s impending restructure will mean there will be only 10 investigators instead of 15, despite official advice which clearly outlines the need to increase the number of investigators.

“This appalling decision will leave more New Zealand victims unable to be identified and protected, and mean more New Zealand perpetrators remain free to ruin more lives.

“It will also mean New Zealand will not meet its international commitments under the Global Alliance Combatting the Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Online to reduce the number of new child pornography images uploaded and the number of victims identified.

“Let’s not forget this decision is on top of the Government’s soft on crime stance, its pledge to put more offenders on the street by cutting the prison population by 30 per cent and its broken promise to recruit an extra 1800 new frontline police.

“This Government simply has its priorities wrong. It’s choosing diplomats over doctors and it’s putting political payback over protecting our most vulnerable. It’s not good enough and the Government needs to get its priorities right.”

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