Newshub-Reid Research poll finds most Kiwis think Police Minister Poto Williams is too soft on crime

The public has registered a vote of no confidence in Police Minister Poto Williams as youth crime spirals out of control. 

Most Kiwis think Williams is too soft on crime, the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll has found - but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is standing by her. 

From mowing through malls to attacks on dairies to storming liquor stores to ransacking retailers, it feels no one is immune to the ram-raid rampage. 

"We've seen a spike in particular activity like ram-raids," Ardern said on Thursday. "Now, that is a reason for us to keep investing in frontline police."

The Police Minister on Thursday sent some new recruits out on the beat. 

"Thank you for taking on this career. Thank you for your service to New Zealand," Williams said at a ceremony. 

And boy, are those recruits needed. 

It comes as New Zealand grapples with a crime spree. A shoot-up in Clendon in the early hours of Thursday left one person injured. 

"We know that the two things that concern our communities most are gangs and guns," Williams told Newshub. 

There's another concern - the Police Minister is not cracking down on crime. 

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll asked: Is the current Police Minister too soft on crime?

More than two-thirds - 68.3 percent - said yes, while just 18.3 percent said no. 

Williams doesn't think it's fair. 

"No, I don't, actually," she told Newshub. "For me, you're either soft or you're a thug or you're smart and I choose to be smart."

National Party Police spokesperson Mark Mitchell sees it differently. 

"I think the result of your poll clearly shows that the public has lost confidence in this Government," he told Newshub. "They are soft on crime."

The Police Minister argues she's increased funding, set up gang task forces and introduced new gun laws. But she has been under fire for poor performance. 

And even Labour voters have turned on her, with a majority - 56.2 percent - saying she's too soft on crime, while just 28.1 percent said she's not. 

"She needs to be taken out of that portfolio," Mitchell said. "She's not interested in it, she's ineffective, she's not providing the leadership."

Williams said it's up to the Prime Minister to decide if she should stay in the job if the public doesn't have confidence in her. 

"At the end of the day, that's over to the Prime Minister to decide but I'm not going anywhere."

The Prime Minister is backing Williams. 

"Absolutely," Ardern said on Thursday, when asked if she still has confidence in Williams. 

The problem is, that the public doesn't.