The following is a speech delivered by New Zealand First Party Leader Winston Peters at a meeting held at the Indian Association of New Zealand Hall, Papatoetoe, Auckland on Sunday, May 7, 2017
His address was mainly to owners, managers and staff of dairies, superettes, liquor stores, petrol stations and other retail shops that have been targets of attack, robbery, aggravated robbery and violence in recent months.
The following is his Speech:
Let us not beat around the bush here. We know the facts. Dairies are being robbed, owners and workers attacked, and terrified.
We cannot blame the police. They are not responsible for having their resources capped in 2009, for their lack of frontline numbers, or for the propaganda fraud that “crime has been falling.”
Police stations have closed, many right here in Auckland –30 since 2009, including downtown Auckland, Grey Lynn, Mangere, Great South Road, Otahuhu, Pt Chevalier.
Centralisation does not work.
Cops on the beat do.
Some basic facts
In the 12 months to June 30, 2016, NZ’s population grew by 97,300.
Immigration brought in a population of a city the size of Rotorua and most came to Auckland.
New Zealand has one police officer for every 526 people. Australia has one officer for every 432 people. In 2009, the New Zealand Police had 3161 general duty constables – in 2016 this had dropped to 2593.
That is not keeping on top of crime.
And crime has risen. Serious assaults resulting in injury were up 7.3% in the 12 months to June 30, 2016; public place assaults up by 13.1%
Burglaries in this city only have a 10% clearance rate. But as you know all sorts of violent holdups and robberies have beset your industry.
You became a bigger target when the government raised the price of cigarettes.
Cigarettes and liquor are gold for idle youth who want easy money, often for drugs.
You’re rightly fed up, and scared.
Police say they are catching the culprits – they’re not. And those youngsters they do catch know that they will get the cotton wool treatment through the Youth Court.
But none of that will make you feel better.
And worst of all, National has just raised the age for the Youth Court to 18 supported by every other party in Parliament except New Zealand First.
That’s how out of touch Parliament is.
As many of you have said, those youngsters will rob us, and be back on the street to do it again in no time.
Justice Minister Amy Adams said, “The vast majority of 17-year-old offenders are lower risk.”
When did she have to stand behind the counter of a dairy and face a masked youth swinging a baseball bat, or worse?
That is the voice of someone who does not know what is going on.
The solution is to prevent these crimes occurring.
We must stop making it easy for this group of young New Zealanders who are plain nasty and violent.
Some might be from decent homes and got in with the wrong crowd.
But many will have parents who do not care. Parents need to take responsibility too.
We must send a clear signal.
We will come down heavy on them when caught. That means they will face the full force of the District Court with its stiffer penalties.
Do the crime, and you will pay for it.
For you as dairy owners, New Zealand First will provide the security you need.
Police patrols will be at your door regularly through the day and night.
They will cover the city.
We will make you feel safe in your shop.
The greater presence of police on the streets will deter youth bent on crime.
They are not brave. They will know when uniformed numbers stack up against them.
That means more police.
We will get 1800 more frontline police quickly. (we got a thousand frontline more police between 2005 and 2008, and 235 backup staff).
As we have promised, so we keep our promises on law and order.
In the coming campaign, we will tell you how we are going to do it.
What this government has come out with, in response to our pledge for greater numbers, falls way short of the mark, and will barely help you.
It is little more than a trickle of police.
Over a third (36% or 313) out of their 880 new officers will not be chasing down or deterring criminals.
116 officers will be required after the government raised the youth age of criminal responsibility; something New Zealand First opposed;
80 are earmarked for the Organised Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand;
66 will be required to work on family violence from 2018 after law changes;
31 will be needed at the Royal New Zealand Police College to train new recruits (and they won’t be replaced until the financial year ending June 2021)
20 are required to increase ethnic relations.
That will not put Police out there in sufficient numbers to stop crime.
New Zealand First policies and increased patrols will be out there in the face of potential offenders.
You have got a right to go about your business safely.
One party understands that.
New Zealand First hears you.