Bennett Denied Police Cuts, But The Truth Is Out

Minister of Police Paula Bennett just won’t admit the truth – the government has the police in a financial choke-hold, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“It’s so bad police decided to sack 26 road safety officers and ‘reallocate’ another 111 road policing staff to save money.

"When questioned twice in Parliament the Minister first claimed the commissioner was moving police around.

“The second time she was plain abusive, saying New Zealand First Deputy Leader Ron Mark had his facts wrong, and should be careful who he talked to.
“Not a speck of truth from the Minister.

“She treated Mr Mark with derision.

“He was doing his job – questioning her on behalf of concerned members of the public who feared axing the commercial vehicle inspection officers would allow cowboy truckies to dodge all manner of safety measures.
“Now there’s been a change of mind. The jobs remain – for now.
“The NZ Herald diluted the government’s U-turn. It presented a public relations story for the government that the Police Minister and Transport Minister had asked for an extra $10m to ‘save’ the safety officers’ job, because of safety concerns.
“Are we expected to think, wasn’t that good of them?
“Did the Herald miss Parliament Oral Questions on March 22 and March 23, when the Minister tried to cover up the cuts. Or the press release from New Zealand First on March 23 giving the details.
“Instead of writing an article about the Ministers’ ‘saving’ the jobs the story should have been that a Cabinet Minister did not tell the truth in Parliament, had no concern for road safety or people’s jobs.
“This is yet another issue that reflects eight years of police budgets being frozen and the National government’s endless chase for a surplus.
“New Zealand First will continue to ask the questions, and the public will already know that National Ministers prefer to engage in deceit than concentrate on good outcomes for all New Zealanders,” says Mr Peters.
Questions in the House, 22 March, 2017

Ron Mark: Will the Minister tell the House why people are joining the police at a time when you are cutting commercial vehicle investigation unit staff by 26, highway patrol staff by 90; and how would it affect your recruiting if the media gag that has been placed on the 200-odd staff who, we have been told, are going to be laid off by July was lifted?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, it is the commissioner who moves police around from road policing and into general, and that is what they are doing. There are changes that are happening, and you can see that with the technology that there is now in road policing, in particular, as that increases there will be some changes there. But what I can assure that member is that there will be more police on the beat by the end of this year.

Questions in the House, March 23

Ron Mark: When the Minister announced the extra 880 new uniformed and 245 non-sworn staff over the next 4 years, why did the Minister not tell New Zealand that Police are also laying off 200 police staff this year—or does the gagging order applied to them also apply to the Minister?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I categorically say that 200 police officers will not be laid off this year. The member has his facts completely and utterly wrong, and should be careful who he speaks to.