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New Zealanders will be less safe because of the Labour-led Government’s decision to scrap plans to upgrade 20 regional police stations to 24/7 coverage, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“In 2017 National released a $503 million Safer Communities package which included a target of 95 per cent of New Zealanders living within 25km of a 24/7 police base.

“Police have now confirmed that this target has officially been dropped, and as a result, police stations due to be upgraded to 24/7 coverage won’t be.

“It’s taken months to get this information out of the Government, but I can confirm that the following communities which were all expecting 24/7 coverage are going to be disappointed: Alexandra, Balclutha, Helensville, rural Southland, rural Tasman, Wanaka and Wellsford.

“A further ten stations are only being upgraded to ‘24/Demand’ status, which isn’t 24/7 at all. Instead it’s the status quo, and a fancy way of trying to pretend that stations will be upgraded when they aren’t going to be. These stations are Wairoa, Rolleston, Taumarunui, Te Kuiti, Thames, Dannevirke/Waipukurau, Dargaville, Stratford, Motueka, and Marton.

“This Government claims it’s building ‘safer and more connected communities.’ How can communities feel connected to the Police if they aren’t on duty?

“Stuart Nash talked a big game in Opposition about station closures, and regional policing. Now he’s in Government, he’s overseeing the cancellation of plans to upgrade stations.”

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