Govt argues with Police over $26M

Govt argues with Police over $26M

Newshub has uncovered a dispute between Police and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) over $26 million for road safety funding in which the road toll is at stake.

Police have asked for $986 million for funding, but NZTA came back and recommended just $960 million.

That means police have $26 million less than what they say is needed.

There have already been 99 deaths on New Zealand roads this year -- it's what police are trying to prevent.

And Police Minister Judith Collins admits a $26 million funding shortfall will cut staff numbers.

"The issue is there'll be fewer people doing road policing if this goes through," Ms Collins said.

Documents obtained by Newshub show the NZTA holding back on the funding given to police.

And it clearly knows the risk.

"We realise that among the implications of the lower level of investment is likely to be a more moderate achievement of the outcomes to which NZ Police make a significant contribution," the documents stated.

Translation: "We know you won't be able to meet your road safety targets".

The $26 million covers $1.5 million to replace the ticketing system, another $4.7 million for speed cameras $5.6 million for  replacing old lasers, radars and breath testing devices, and $14.3 million just to maintain the current staffing, equipment and technology to keep up with road safety targets.

But Transport Minister Simon Bridges says no, he will not give more.

"I think we've got the amount at $960 million right," says Mr Bridges.

Yet the Ms Collins won't take 'no' for answer.

"Police will cope, they'll do what they can do but I'd say that's its still subject to negotiation," says Ms Collins.

And the Police Commissioner also say the fight isn't over.

"We're working through a really good process with NZTA around our funding," says Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

These negotiations usually happen behind closed doors. Instead the Police and Transport Ministers are disagreeing in public which is rare and even the Commissioner is jumping in.

The tension shows the Government's purse strings are tight -- even when the road toll is at stake.