The Police Minister owes it to the public to come clean about the true cost of their coalition promise to recruit 1800 new sworn police, National Party Police Spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Once again Stuart Nash refuses to back Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s estimation of the cost of training these new police each year, saying those costs are yet to be finalised and will be revealed next May,” Mr Bishop says.
“If the Prime Minister can estimate the costs of the new police to be either $40 million or $80 million, what is stopping Mr Nash from giving his estimate of the full cost? It’s clear that from his answers in the House today, Finance Minister Grant Robertson has put the squeeze on to defer the cost of Police until next year and not include it in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update.
“The only explanation is that he simply hasn’t done the work. Answers to written questions show Mr Nash has taken no papers to Cabinet on the additional 1800 police, an Official Information Act request to the Ministry of Justice reveals they have not been asked to do any work on the impact of 1800 new police on the costs to the justice sector, and in the House today the Corrections Minister revealed he had not received any advice on the impact of 1800 new police on the cost to corrections.
“It beggars belief that on the Government’s flagship law and order policy, absolutely no work has been done, they have no idea of the costs, and Mr Nash is leaving it to the Prime Minister to just make it up as she goes. Even a simple analysis of the $503 million cost for 880 new police officers over four years announced by the previous National-led Government would reveal a true estimate of around $1 billion over the next few years.
“The Minister won’t reveal these costs until halfway through next year, hoping that by then Mr Robertson will have found the money for him. Mr Nash needs to front up now and reassure New Zealanders that his coalition isn’t writing cheques that New Zealand can’t cash.”