Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

John Key reveals concerns about children being victims of crime

Prime Minister John Key. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Jason Oxenham.
Prime Minister John Key. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Jason Oxenham.

Prime Minister John Key says he understands concerns about law and order - saying as a parent he worries about his daughter getting hassled or even raped.

This morning, he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that there was "no question" that more frontline officers helped, but that was only one factor and the overall structure of policing needed to be considered.

"You really need is to take a bit more of a sophisticated approach and say, ok, let's just accept there are more resources...let's talk about how do we deliver what New Zealanders really want, which is not just a number...that a politician barks out at you.

"Personally, as a parent I do worry about my son going out and getting attacked on Saturday night or king hit by someone who has had too much to drink.

I do worry about my daughter going out and potentially being raped or hassled.

"I think if you go to parents and say, in those big metropolitan areas or wherever it may be, actually there will be a bigger police presence on Saturday night, then I think New Zealanders start saying, 'I agree with that'. If you are in small town New Zealand where they might not have the services.

"My point is, let's just have a little bit of sophistication around what we are delivering. And we will definitely deliver more resources."

Opposition parties have been attacking the Government's record on law and order as crime rates rise along with concerns about burglary and other crime resolution rates.

Last week outgoing Police Association president Greg O'Connor used his last speech at the Police Association conference in Wellington to slam the Government over a lack of police resourcing, and called for an urgent increase in officer numbers.

The country was facing a "second wave" of the methamphetamine problem, he said, and gang numbers were swelling, particularly those of the Head Hunters'.

Labour leader Andrew Little has pledged 1000 extra frontline officers, and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters wants 1800 and a new offence for "king hit" punches.

Key has been in talks with Police Minister Judith Collins about increasing numbers and an announcement is likely to be made shortly.

"Not a massive cry for tax cuts"

The Prime Minister was also asked by Hosking about the possibility of tax cuts, after the Crown accounts for the year to June showed a surplus of $1.8 billion - higher than the $668 million forecast in the May Budget.

Finance Minister Bill English said that meant the Government was in a position to make choices such as whether to go ahead with tax cuts, but also said there were other priorities such as paying down debt.

This morning, Key said there were families that missed out on tax credits but did not earn enough to "feel that they are actually going forward fast enough".

However, he said there didn't seem to be a "massive cry" from the public for tax cuts, compared to 2005-07.

"But it will get louder over time as those surpluses rise."

- NZ Herald

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