Boost to police numbers across NZ

Kaikohe will have to wait for a much-needed police boost, and it may not get the 24/7 police base that has been allocated for the mid-north.

The 880 new frontline officers announced by the Government earlier in the year have been allocated across the country - every district will receive more police and 20 more towns will get a 24-hour police presence.

Police haven't yet decided whether Kerikeri or Kaikohe will be the 24/7 base, but either way it's not part of the first rollout this year - the area will have to wait until 2018/19.  

Four of those will be rolled out over this year - Kaitaia, Matamata, Wairoa and Rolleston.

"We recognise that our regional communities have different pressures and concerns and feel safer if they know a 24/7 police response service is nearby," Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

The Government wants 95 percent of New Zealanders to live within 25km of a 24/7 police base by 2022 - it will roll out 24/7 police bases across the country until that target's reached. 

Newshub spoke to a youth gang on the streets of Kaikohe on Wednesday. They don't think more police is the answer to the town's crime problems.

"The Government ain't doing enough for us up here we need more than a benefit you know, we need more jobs, f**k none of us have qualifications but you know we try to survive," a teenage man said.

He also said the Government "needs to lower the cigarette rates and that you know if we have lower cigarette rates f**k we ain't going to be robbing no shops".

Police have been listening - Commissioner Mike Bush said Kaikohe is being considered as a base for 24/7 policing in the mid-north.

"Having worked up in the Far North I know that a number of places need that 24/7 coverage. It's just about ensuring we put them in the most effective area," Cmmr Bush says. 

Kaikohe locals reckon that 2018 isn't fast enough.

"It can never come soon enough but if it's in writing and we're going to get it, that's a pretty good start because we had nothing leading up to this."

Police bases to go 24/7 over the next four years:

  • 2017/18: Kaitaia, Matamata, Wairoa, Rolleston
  • 2018/19: Kerikeri/ Kaikohe*, Warkworth/ Wellsford*, Taumarunui, Te Kuiti, Waipukurau/ Dannevirke*, Thames, Balclutha
  • 2019/20: Dargaville, Helensville, Stratford, Motueka, Wanaka
  • 2020/21: Marton, Alexandra, Southland Rural, Tasman Rural

* Decisions on the location of these bases are still to be made

Police identified four priority areas where a bigger police presence was needed - Northland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and the Eastern district.

"We have carefully considered where the additional 880 staff should go and where they will make the most difference. Our allocation model has taken into account changing crime patterns, increased demand and population growth," Cmmr Bush said.

Northland is set to get the biggest boost - a 19 percent increase, Eastern and Waikato will get 16 percent and Bay of Plenty an 11 percent increase.

That means 66 extra officers in Northland, 101 in Waikato, 68 in Eastern and 69 in Bay of Plenty. 

New police staff allocations over the next four years:

  • Northland: 66
  • Waitemata: 73
  • Auckland City: 72
  • Counties Manukau: 91
  • Waikato: 101
  • Bay of Plenty: 69
  • Eastern: 68
  • Central: 67
  • Wellington: 62
  • Tasman: 24
  • Canterbury: 70
  • Southern: 37
  • Organised Crime: 80
  • Total additional staff: 880

Of those officers, 669 of the officers will be based in the North Island, 131 will be in the South Island.

Cmmr Bush says they would love to do everything tomorrow, "but if you look in the long term we've got to make sure our people are really, really good."

Northland MP Winston Peters says it's all too little too late.

"A tsunami of drugs, lawlessness and renegade youth and that's all they've got as a response? Well it won't do."

Police Minister Paula Bennett says "a 19 percent increase in police there is really impressive".

But a young man from Kaikohe has a simple message for all the politicians: "Offer more jobs, don't need more police."