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NZ’s growing crime problem 

In brief
  • It’s generally understood there’s a youth led spike in retail crime. 
  • Jewellers, vape shops, liquor stores, sporting goods retailers and more have been targeted.  
  • The Mongrel Mob and the Headhunters both previously encouraged members not to vote National. 
  • Is Labour’s soft on crime reputation warranted?

Crime proving to be a challenge

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Police Minister Ginny Anderson took turns both on air and in Parliament, respectively, to admit increasing crime stats are a “challenge” and a problem. 

Hipkins did so amid announcing $11m in new money for fog cannons to tackle ram raids. 

It’s notable Hipkins had previously remarked that a challenge was something he enjoyed, when quizzed on his plan to tackle gang crime in his previous role as Minister of Police. 

Retailers like Glengarry Wines have faced dozens of burglaries since lockdowns began. Vape shops, sporting good stores and jewellers have all been burgled in a recent youth led crimewave. Michael Hill Jewellers in Takapuna was ram raided three times in one year and has since closed. It’s literally become a joke

NZ’s growing crime problem  - Centrist
Labour is fighting the perception out there that crime is out of control.

Some numbers aren’t good 

Some crime stats that don’t look good: 

  • There has been a 465 per cent increase in ram raids in the last two years – they’ve increased 77 per cent since Hipkins became PM. 
  • Violent crime is out of control, with serious assaults resulting in injury up 121 per cent since 2017
  • Common assaults are up 47 per cent since 2017.

And these crime stats are despite hiring a record number of police officers. 

Others say stats need to be taken with a grain of salt. Murders, for example, are down in recent years when adjusted for population growth. 

No matter how stats are sliced, people think crime is out of control, and Labour is trying to improve their reputation in an election year. 

Opposition attacks the Government as “soft on crime” 

ACT’s response to Anderson’s since-walked-back claim that only the reporting of crime was up was “The Police Minister says she feels safe, but that’s because she’s in the back of a Crown limo rather than out on the street.”

ACT MP Chris Baillie said “How about actually locking up criminals for a change?” 

Labour had campaigned in 2017 on reducing the prison population by 30% over a decade and a half. 

The number of people sent to prison each year under this Labour Government has dropped by nearly half. The nation’s prison population has dropped by nearly a fifth since 2018 when over 10600 people were incarcerated. 

While incarceration rates are down, however, the number of offenders on probation in the community has increased under Labour. 

National has vowed to bring tough new laws and powers for Police and set up military style academies where Young Serious Offenders may be sent for up to 12 months. 

Is Labour a bikie gang favourite? 

This Labour government has long fought the “soft on crime” label. In 2021, National and ACT were taking swipes at Labour’s track record on law and order when it was revealed Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam urged his gang associates to not vote for National. Tam fronted a “drug rehab” clinic funded with millions of dollars by taxpayers through Labour. 

In 2022, a Head Hunters gang member discouraged his associates from voting for National.  

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