National's Erica Stanford tells Ginny Andersen to worry 'about reducing crime' after criticising MP

National MP Erica Stanford says Police Minister Ginny Andersen should focus on reducing crime instead of making critical comments about the Opposition.

Andersen on Thursday hit out at Mark Mitchell after the National MP described burglary, reckless driving and bail breaches as "minor infringements". 

Andersen criticised the comments by Mitchell, National's police spokesperson, saying she was "absolutely shocked" by them.

"It undermines the good work that our frontline police officers do every day," Andersen said on Friday.

Stanford, appearing on AM's political panel alongside Andersen, described the Police Minister's response as "desperation".

"Now you've got Ginny Andersen spending her time... using a Government press release to call for the resignation of an Opposition [MP]? I don't think that's ever happened before," Stanford said. "I mean, for goodness sake - what a waste."

Stanford said Andersen "should be worried about reducing crime".

"The more and more they slip down the polls, the more and more nasty it tends to get - we're just rising above it," Stanford said of Labour.

Asked by AM co-host Laura Tupou if Mitchell was simply comparing the said offences to other more serious crimes, Andersen said: "No, he's actually said that those were 'minor'... he said that they are small."

Mitchell, a former police officer, said on Friday he made the comments in response to figures on Operation Cobalt - a nationwide crackdown on gangs - provided to him by Andersen's office.

"The reason why I put that... out is that we asked for a detailed breakdown of all the offences, the charges, the convictions around Operation Cobalt," he told Newstalk ZB

"Quite simply, she did not give us a breakdown - she gave us a very generic response which said that 50 percent of those offences were traffic infringement... and administration charges which are category 1 and category 2 minor offences."

Mitchell accused the Government of having a "hopeless track record" on crime.

Andersen is the fifth Police Minister since Labour took office in 2017, succeeding Stuart Nash  who had two stints in the role, now-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Poto Williams.