The Police Commissioner has confirmed what everyone else knew: there has always been one target for additional Police and the Government is falling to deliver, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“In Select Committee today Police Commissioner Mike Bush threw the Prime Minister under the bus. He confirmed there has always been one target to add more police to the force, and that is 1800 extra police taking into account attrition.
“The Prime Minister told Parliament that the Government would reach 1800 new police this term when she came under pressure from questioning by Simon Bridges a month ago.
“Her slip led to Police Minister Stuart Nash making up an entirely new target to try to protect her, which didn’t take into account attrition.
“Today confirms just how desperate Stuart Nash is. He knew he wasn’t going to recruit 1800 extra police this term. The Minister moved the goal posts to suit his Government’s interests and he’s been found out.
“Both the Police Minister and the Prime Minister have claimed this month’s graduation will mean the Government will meet their target of 1800 new police. But once again the Police Commissioner refuted this, confirming he had never claimed they would meet their target this month.
“Stuart Nash is failing New Zealanders who want safe communities, and he’s failing the Police who were planning for these extra resources.
“This Government is scrambling, it’s more focused on lofty promises than the safety of New Zealanders, and it’s been found out.
“Labour is failing to deliver on its promises.”
The Government risks its buyback scheme becoming a failure if it doesn’t take swift action to engage with responsible firearms owners and the firearms community, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“With fewer than 100 firearms handed in at every buyback event, the Minister should heed expert advice and make changes to his scheme if he wants to ensure the safety of New Zealanders.
“The Government should review its price list for firearms, it needs to include accessories, ammunition and safes that are redundant now the law has changed, and most importantly, it needs to work with the firearms community.
“Police Minister Stuart Nash has failed to engage with the firearms community and they’re responding by not engaging with the buyback. By the Government’s own estimates, there are still 140,000 or more firearms yet to be handed in.
“The Government is compromising public safety by failing to make its gun buyback scheme fair and reasonable. It disregarded expert advice from KMPG that showed the cost of the scheme could be up to $750 million for it to be effective.
“Instead, Mr Nash has focused on budget bottom lines rather than work with the firearms community to make New Zealand safer. He’s refusing to own up to his mistakes and admit he got the buyback wrong.
“Gangs are not complying and we’re seeing no action from the Government tackle illegal firearm use. The focus has always been on the law abiding firearms community. If Mr Nash was as tough on gangs and real criminals as he is trying to be on licensed firearms owners, maybe we would see some improvements to public safety.
“The Minister needs to own that he got this scheme wrong. If the Government wants to do justice to its buyback, it needs to review its price lists. Anything less is undermining the point of the buyback and failing to make New Zealand safer.”
Police Minister Stuart Nash is over inflating how many sworn Police Officers are on the force and he’s misleading New Zealanders, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“When answering written questions, Stuart Nash confirmed there were 9016 sworn officers employed by New Zealand Police as at 1 November 2017. Yesterday when asked what the total was now, he quoted 9732 sworn officers.
“That is an increase of only 716 officers since this Government took office, not 893 as the Minister has previously claimed.
“New Zealanders can’t trust Stuart Nash. He’s flip flopped on his promise to increase the number of police officers including attrition, and now he’s cherry picking numbers out of thin air.
“The Minister is failing New Zealanders who want safe communities, and he’s failing the Police who have been planning for the extra resources.
“This term of Government has been littered with Labour’s broken promises – KiwiBuild, a capital gains tax, free doctor’s visits, light rail, and now police numbers.
“You cannot trust Labour with the safety of New Zealanders.”
Police Minister Stuart Nash changing his tune on adding 1800 new police officers is a broken promise and another example of this Government letting New Zealanders down, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“This Government has repeatedly promised to increase the number of police officers by 1800, on top of attrition. Stuart Nash has confirmed this is ‘over and above what we had before’ numerous times.
“His flip flop this week and claim there are now two targets is a broken promise to New Zealanders and a humiliating defeat for the Government.
“By failing to add the promised 1800 police officers, Stuart Nash is not only failing the New Zealanders who want safe communities, but also the Police who have been planning for the additional resources.
“It doesn’t matter what the Prime Minister said to Winston Peters behind closed doors, she promised the New Zealand public 1800 more police officers and she will fail to deliver on that promise.
“You cannot trust Labour with the safety of New Zealanders.”
The Government has admitted it won’t deliver on its promise of adding 1800 new police officers this term, so it has shifted the goal posts, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“Police Minister Stuart Nash promised to add 1800 additional police officers to the force, and confirmed in writing to National that this is additional recruitment, accounting for police officers who leave each year.
“The Prime Minister doubled down on this yesterday, promising there would be 1800 additional police on the force by next year. But today Stuart Nash misled New Zealanders and threw the Prime Minister under the bus.
“He knows he won’t be able to recruit 1800 police, given it’s been two years and he’s only managed to add 707 new police officers, so the Minister has moved the goal posts.
“Now Stuart Nash is counting every person who’s been through police college.
“This is an admission of defeat from this Government, which is more focused on lofty promises than the safety of New Zealanders.
“When gang membership is rising, the priority of the Minister should be ensuring there are enough cops on the street to stop crime.
“It’s another broken promise to New Zealanders. What’s worse about this broken promise is that it has to do with public safety.
“New Zealanders deserve a Government that will deliver on its promises. This Government isn’t doing that.”
A once in a generation opportunity to strengthen our firearms law has been denied by the Government, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“Police Minister Stuart Nash has said this is a once in a generation opportunity to fix our firearms law, yet he won’t give us the time to do it properly.
“National released 13 changes we want to see in the second tranche of gun reforms that address access to guns by gangs and those involved in criminal activity. The Government’s Bill has instead focused responsibility and regulation on law-abiding gun owners.
“Some of those changes were outside the scope of the Bill requiring Parliament to agree to an instruction to the Select Committee following the first reading, but the Government opposed this.
“National has discussed firearms law and reforms with Gun Control NZ, individual gun owners and firearms organisations. Our proposed amendments focus on people who could pose a risk to society, rather than those New Zealanders complying with the law.
“Some of our proposed changes that are outside the scope of the Bill include removing excessive regulatory powers from the Act, introducing new and consistent exemptions for sports shooting and providing for greater flexibility for pest control exemptions.
“Our Firearms Prohibition Orders would also automatically disqualify a person from being able to own, possess or reside near firearms if they are a member of, or have close affiliations to, a gang and have been convicted of a serious offence. This is just one sensible recommendation National has put forward.
“Today the Government was given the opportunity to ensure the second tranche of gun law reform is comprehensive, detailed and focuses on those who break the law. Instead it has chosen to put through legislation without listening to both sides of the debate.”
National has today outlined the 13 changes we want to see in the second tranche of gun reforms before considering our support, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“The Government has unduly focused responsibility and regulation on law-abiding gun owners and hasn’t done enough to address access to guns by gangs and those involved in criminal activity.
“Below are the changes we believe need to be made.
- Introducing Firearms Prohibition Orders
- Adding flexibility to dealer licences given the wider remit being proposed
- Introducing clearer and more flexible rules for clubs
- Introducing clearer and more flexible rules for sporting ranges
- Ensuring the Register is clearly defined in legislation
- Keeping licence duration the same as it is today
- Including safeguards on healthcare practitioners reporting to Police.
- Removing excessive regulatory powers from the Act
- Introducing new and consistent exemptions for sports shooting
- Providing for greater flexibility for pest control exemptions
- Adding common sense amendments for collector exemptions
- Amending the fit and proper person test to require some clear rules for assessing patterns of behaviour
- Requiring common sense rules for visitors purchasing firearms over prohibition
“Numbers 8-11 are outside the scope of the Bill which has been introduced and would require Parliament to agree to an instruction to the Select Committee following first reading.
“The overwhelming majority of firearm owners are good, law abiding citizens. National wants to see reforms that will focus on people who could pose a risk to society and won’t unduly impact law abiding New Zealanders.”
The low rate of firearms handed in so far shows that the Government’s buyback scheme is failing to secure buy-in from the firearms community, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“Police have said there’s more work to be done and they’re right. After 141 events, there has only been 17,354 firearms handed in.
“This is a poor result when considering there is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of now prohibited firearms. The New Zealand Police stated there could be 240,000 firearms that are now banned.
“Gangs are not complying with the buyback and we are seeing no action from the Government to tackle the problems of illegal firearm use, with the focus seemingly on the law abiding firearms community.
“The Minister needs to explain how this helps to keep us safe.
“He has failed to engage with the firearms community and they’re responding by not engaging with the buyback.
“The Government must review it’s price list for firearms, it needs to include accessories, ammunition and safes that are redundant now the law has changed and, most importantly, it needs to work with the firearms community.
“The overwhelming majority of firearm owners are good, law abiding citizens. But there is distress in that community at the way the Government has approached their reforms.
“If the Government wants to do justice to the buyback process they will start engaging with the community and review their price lists. Anything less will be undermining the point of the buyback and failing to make New Zealand safer.”
The Police Minister must ensure that police standards are not dropping under his watch, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“Reports today that Police vetting failed to pick up a gang affiliation raises serious questions about the processes in place.
“The risk is that the Minister, in an attempt to push through as many graduates as possible before the election to keep his promises, has compromised on standards.
“The New Zealand Police provide an essential service to New Zealand and require support, but not if it comes at the cost of standards that help ensure our Police are ready for the job facing them.
“This is a basic issue and should have been picked up.
“I would expect some serious questions to be asked of the Minister and assurances provided to make sure that this issue is not repeated again.”
Julie Anne Genter will have her fingers crossed that fuel prices keep ballooning, otherwise her car tax won’t provide all the economic benefits she claims it will, National’s Associate Transport spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“The Associate Transport Minister has been shopping her car tax policy to the public based on misinformation about the future price of petrol.
“The purported benefits of her plan to tax higher-emissions vehicles and subsidise low-emissions vehicles are almost entirely derived from future fuel savings for private vehicle owners, according to her ministry’s documents.
“But those calculations are based on the pre-tax price of fuel being 40c to 50c per litre more than it is now. The problem with that is, it’s never going to happen.
“Her ministry stuffed up and based its policy on an out-of-date MBIE forecast from 2012. The fuel prices in that forecast are already 50 per cent higher than actual prices today.
“This completely undermines the policy model. Without these fuel savings benefits, the car tax has a benefit-to-cost ratio of just 0.2, meaning for every dollar spent the policy only benefits greenhouse gas emissions by 20c.
“Not only does Labour and the Greens want to punish Kiwis for buying certain cars, their sneaky tax grab will not deliver anything like the benefits they claim.
“I’m calling on Julie Anne Genter to either admit her policy is based on incorrect information, or that she secretly hopes Kiwis get fleeced at the pump so her lies won’t be exposed.”