Prime Minister Chris Hipkins doesn't accept crime has become worse under his watch

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins agrees more needs to be done to combat crime, with more Kiwis believing the Government isn't doing enough.

A Newshub-Reid Research poll revealed on Monday a clear majority of New Zealanders believed Labour was failing to get on top of the country's ram-raid problem. 

Speaking to AM on Tuesday, Hipkins acknowledged there is heightened anxiety about crime but said the overall figures were still trending downwards.

He doesn't accept crime has become worse under his Government.

"We've seen a decrease in burglary, we've seen a decrease in quite a number of different types of crime," he said. "What we are seeing, though, are things like smash and grabs and ram-raiding which are highly-visible forms of offending - we've seen an increase in those areas and we need to do something about those.

"If you look at the overall crime statistics, it will tell you that crime is continuing to trend down but, if you look at some of the visible signs of offending - which people are rightly concerned about - we have seen an increase in those areas and we need to do more in those areas to combat that."

The Government has been repeatedly criticised for its record on addressing crime.

According to Ministry of Justice figures, retail crime shot up 39 percent between 2018 and 2022.

In addition, police figures last month showed there were two ram raids per day on average in the six months to the end of May. 

In July, the Government introduced a new offence specifically targeting ram-raiding with a maximum 10-year prison sentence - attempting to fill gaps in the justice system. 

Hipkins acknowledged the escalating ram raids were "unacceptable - and the Government is doing something about that".

He added there'd also been an escalation in gang activity which, according to Hipkins, "unfortunately" has resulted in "an increase in gun crime".

"We are taking action about that," Hipkins said.

Hipkins said the other levels of violent crime were coming as a result of increased reports of family violence.

"If we look at the increase in violent crime and the statistics that we see… actually one of the bigger drivers of the increase in violent crime in New Zealand is that family harm - more violence in the home," he added.

"Now, I think it's horrible that we have that level of violence in our society but I think the fact that it's being reported means we can do something more about it - it suggests that New Zealanders now have a lower tolerance for that than we might've seen in the past. I think that [the] lower level of tolerance is an encouraging sign."

Figures revealed by police in its annual report last year showed there were 175,573 family harm investigations recorded in the 12 months to June 2022.