Prime Minister Chris Hipkins admits ongoing retail crime 'totally unacceptable', says more 'rehabilitation' needed for prisoners

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins admits the wave of retail crime gripping the country is "absolutely heartbreaking" and "totally unacceptable".

Appearing on AM on Tuesday, Hipkins accepted the Government had more to do to tackle ram raids and smash-and-grab burglaries.

It comes after the owners of Titirangi's only post shop told AM they were closing their doors after two decades, saying they no longer felt safe due to repeated burglaries.

"I absolutely acknowledge the situation that we're facing around retail crime, at the moment; with ram raids and aggravated robberies, is utterly unacceptable," Hipkins told AM host Ryan Bridge. "I think that is something that the Government takes very seriously."

Meanwhile, new figures show 70 percent of inmates released are being re-convicted within two years - while less than half are attending rehab programmes. 

Hipkins said rehabilitating prisoners is challenging but more needs to be done. 

"One of the things that's challenging about it, at the moment, is that we're seeing a lot of people in prison being released based on time-served… because they've spent so long on remand. That's not something we should be proud of, that is something we need to do more about."

He said prisoners who spent less time on remand would have better access to those rehab services.

"People being released based on time served because they spent so much time on remand isn't an acceptable situation because it means you don't get the… rehabilitation support behind them that they really should have," Hipkins said. "I acknowledge that we need to do a better job.

"The COVID-19 disruption had a significant impact on our criminal justice system and we're working on clearing that up."

Watch the full video for more.