This Government is overseeing data breach after data breach, and the latest breach involving the firearm buy-back programme is incredibly serious, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“Police Minister Stuart Nash needs to take responsibility. His Government put the buy-back scheme together. It has failed to protect New Zealanders’ private and very sensitive information. It has failed to deliver a secure environment for personal data.
“New Zealanders will be rightly worried about where their sensitive information is, and who has it. Kiwis should be able to have confidence in the agencies holding their personal data. Even more concerning is that the data breached includes bank account numbers and details around the firearms owned.
“This isn’t the first time there has been a significant data breach under this Government, there was a breach at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage where information on children had been accessed; staff at NZTA were at risk of personal identity theft after a USB drive containing staff identity cards was lost; private details were stolen from the Commerce Commission; and even Treasury has been breached.
“How can New Zealanders have confidence in the firearms register the Government is proposing when they can’t even protect their personal details in their buy-back scheme? New Zealanders’ data is at risk and this shows we can’t go rushing into a firearms register. The Government’s track record on IST and data is simply not up to scratch.
“In this year of delivery, all Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Government can deliver are privacy breaches.”
National is proposing a new unit within the Police which would crack down on gangs and allow us take back control, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“The unit would be modelled on ‘Strike Force Raptor’ based in New South Wales which was set up to target the activity of outlaw motorcycle gangs and associates.
“Gang numbers have exploded in New Zealand under this soft on crime Government. They have grown at almost twice the rate of new Police recruits. Since the election gang membership has increased by 1,400. The number of frontline Police officers has increased by around 850. Gangs peddle misery in our communities, manufacturing and dealing drugs and carrying out violence.
“A unit like ‘Strike Force Raptor’ would interrupt gang activity. If someone was punched outside a nightclub by a gang member, the unit would take over the case. If gang members didn't pay their traffic fines, it would follow up to ensure their driver licences were taken away.
“The specialist officers would check gang clubhouses and use council rules to shut them down for shoddy workmanship or unconsented work. If alcohol was being served at the gang pad, it would invoke legislation so the gangs need a liquor licence. Officers could check benefit payments and tax records for taxpayer assistance gang members weren't entitled to.
“National would bring back targets for Police which were dropped by this Government. This includes reducing violent crime victimisations, reducing reoffending, reducing family violence victimisations, ensuring 95 per cent of New Zealanders live within 25 kilometres of a 24/7 on-duty Police officer, ensuring 98 per cent of burglaries are attended by Police within 48 hours and having 90 per cent of 111 emergency calls answered within 10 seconds.
“National is the Party of law and order. We are doing the work in Opposition so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020. We won’t tolerate gangs peddling misery. We will release a comprehensive gang plan next year to crack down on them.”
The Government’s soft on crime approach has led to Police taking matters into their own hands to address the problem of gang violence, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“A special Gang Focus unit has been set up in Hawke's Bay to address the swelling instances of gang violence in the region.
“There were four gang-related attacks in 24 hours in Hawke’s Bay alone this week, including a violent standoff at the Napier Medical Centre.
“Gang membership has increased by 26 per cent in the past two years, and Hawke’s Bay has seen a 58 per cent increase.
“National proposed implementing Firearms Prohibition Orders that would have given police greater tools to get guns out of the hands of gangs. But the Government blocked this from becoming law over a year ago.
"As a result the Police Minister now has bigger problems with gangs and firearms in his own backyard and people across Napier and Hawkes Bay are at greater risk than they would have been.
“Gangs do nothing but peddle misery and create more victims. They are running rampant because this Government has no plan to keep New Zealander’s safe.
“National is committed to clamping down on gangs and keeping New Zealanders safe. Next week we will release our Law and Order Discussion Document which will highlight some of our ideas for addressing the growing gang problem in New Zealand.”
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.”