Darroch Ball MP: “Violence against first responders is a problem on the rise”

New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball says that a paramedic being kicked unconscious last night in an attempted burglary in Warkworth, north of Auckland, is a symptom of a larger problem.

"Incidents like this are becoming more and more frequent...and it’s getting worse," Mr Ball said.

The MP is pushing for a law change which will punish people who assault first responders on duty and deter the high number of assaults.

Mr Ball said the high frequency of assaults was due to a lack of respect for the uniform making paramedics, police, firefighters and correction staff "somewhat of a target".

"Right now, there are inadequate laws to deter people from lashing out," he added.

Under Mr Ball’s proposed law, a minimum sentence of six months imprisonment would be imposed on an offender who assaults a first responder.

The bill passed its first hurdle in Parliament last year, with strong support from paramedics.

Mr Ball said the bill was not the only way to stop assaults on first responders, "but what it will do is fix the problem right now".

St John director of operations Norma Lane described yesterday's incident in Warkworth as "despicable" and "unacceptable".

"She has endured an horrific ordeal while on duty to help others."




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