Stuart Nash criticised by police

By -
Labour police spokesman Stuart Nash has agreed to stop criticising Eastern District Commander Sandra Venables after a letter from police was sent to Andrew Little. Photo/ Paul Taylor
Labour police spokesman Stuart Nash has agreed to stop criticising Eastern District Commander Sandra Venables after a letter from police was sent to Andrew Little. Photo/ Paul Taylor

Napier MP Stuart Nash has agreed to cut criticism of Eastern District's police commander after police sent a warning letter to his boss.

Deputy commissioner Viv Rickard sent the letter to Labour Party leader Andrew Little after Mr Nash's repeated criticism of Eastern District Commander Sandra Venables.

Mr Nash had a meeting with Mr Little yesterday to discuss the letter and said it went well.

"I made the decision to take a step back from [Ms] Venables but I am now turning my focus on to the Police Minister Judith Collins."

Mr Little said Mr Nash had his complete backing as he was standing up for his local community.

"As MP for Napier he is reflecting local concerns and backing front-line cops who are trying to keep the community safe in spite of the National Government under-funding police," Mr Little said.

Mr Nash said funding for policing in Napier came from Wellington, so Ms Collins would be held accountable for what was happening in the city.

Ms Collins said his attacks on Ms Venables had been on-going and unfair as the district commander was unable to respond to his comments.

"It is a long-standing constitutional convention that police do not comment on political matters and, therefore, District Commander Venables is not able to engage with the comments made by Stuart Nash"

Ms Collins said she raised the issue with him in Parliament but he chose to take advantage of the situation by continuing to personally attack someone who was prevented by convention from defending herself.

"Sandy Venables is a highly respected, brave, senior police officer and Stuart's unrelenting public attacks on her have been distressing to police."

On the agreement between Mr Little and Mr Nash to direct criticism her way, Ms Collins said: "I think they both probably have a bit of a problem with strong women."

"He will find that I will be very happy to reply with facts, not hyperbole."

Mr Nash said he attended street corner meetings weekly and crime and policing were the major issues that needed to be sorted.

"I will stand by what I have said as I am dealing with the facts and statistics. The minister is ultimately responsible for resourcing and these should meet the expectations required by community police officers."

In the letter from Mr Rickard, he was criticised for gaining his information from a ''small source of disaffected people''.

"All my criticism towards the district commander have been based on facts which come from databases and reports. There is nothing worse than grandstanding when you do not know the truth."

In a Hawke's Bay Today talking point earlier this year, Mr Nash said he had lost confidence in the police district commander to keep communities safe and execute proper strategies, which ensured that police have the resources to prevent crime and solve cases in Napier.

He says he stands by this and wants to talk to Ms Venables to understand her rationale.

"I just want to know why she is taking certain actions such as having smaller stations, having the armed offenders squad equipment stored in Hastings, having a smaller number of cells and dropping the number of patrols on foot."

He said he was sure she would have some good answers.

"She is an important leader in Hawke's Bay so I just need to gain a better understanding of her actions."

A police spokesperson said he understood that Mr Little would be responding and as a courtesy he would not discuss the letter further until a response was received.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 09 Dec 2016 12:09:03 Processing Time: 548ms