Judith Collins accuses Government of hiding crime statistics behind 'celebratory headline', 'PR spin'

National leader Judith Collins is accusing the Government of hiding the true story of a Ministry of Justice survey behind a "celebratory headline".

The New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey was released to the media on Wednesday under the title: "Latest results from New Zealand's largest crime survey show the number of burglaries continues to decline."

In the press release, Ministry of Justice deputy secretary Tim Hampton praised the downward trend as promising.

"It is particularly encouraging to see that some of the biggest declines in burglaries have been for those that have historically been the most likely to be burgled, such as Māori and low-income households."

But the survey also revealed nearly 30 percent of adults were victims of crime in the past year, and that 12 percent of men and 35 percent of women had experienced sexual assault in their lifetime.

Meanwhile, up to 16 percent of disabled New Zealanders also experienced interpersonal violence, the survey showed. Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says she's saddened but not surprised.

"While I am saddened by this information, I am grateful that this will increase knowledge and understanding of what is happening in Aotearoa.

"I and the Human Rights Commission will continue to work alongside the joint venture to address these issues for disabled people."

Collins says minority groups are still being victimised.

"In the past 12 months, 29 percent of adults experienced one or more offences against themselves or their household," she said in a statement. "This stat rises to 38 percent for Māori, 47 percent for bisexual people, and 55 percent for those with high levels of psychological distress."

However, it was burglary statistics highlighted atop the Ministry of Justice's press release - noting the number of burglaries per household had fallen "significantly" from 18 percent in 2018 to 14 per 100 last year.

Judith Collins accuses Government of hiding crime statistics behind 'celebratory headline', 'PR spin'
Photo credit: Ministry of Justice

"Behind the celebratory headline the data that fits with what National MPs have been hearing all over the country can be found - no improvement in victimisation across the three years the survey has been running and more New Zealanders feeling unsafe," Collins said.

"Despite the Government's constant lip service to identity politics, minority groups are among the most victimised New Zealanders."

In a statement, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said Collins was running "a tired line" not backed up by facts.

"The number of people charged with criminal offences has decreased by 40 percent over the last 10 years. Since 2017, the number of people charged with a criminal offence has decreased by 17 percent.

"Since 2011, the number of people charged with serious offences has decreated by 20 percent. Compared to 2017, the number of people charged with serious offences has decreased by 5 percent.

"This Government supports approaches to justice that will empower victims, rehabilitate offenders and address the causes of their offending, and strengthen communities rather than entrench crime in them."

In the ministry press release on Wednesday morning, Hampton said the statistics provide a better understanding of the real impact on crime - given three-quarters of it isn't reported to the police.

"It shows changes in victimisation and can indicate the effectiveness of Government policies on crime - this is the key to what New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey offers and will continue to grow in importance over time."