The recorded murder rate has dropped by almost 50 per cent in the last year - the lowest since fiscal year reporting began in 1986, according to figures released by police today.

There were 34 murders recorded in the last year, compared to 65 the year before. Of those, 20 were recorded as being family violence related - down from 35 in the previous year.

Overall, recorded crime in New Zealand has dropped by 5.8 per cent in the same period.

There were 416,324 total recorded offences from July 1 last year through to June 30 this year, a decrease of 25,636.

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The largest decreases were in Canterbury (-14.6 percent), Southern (-10.3 percent), Tasman (-8.4 percent), Central (-6.7 percent) and Waitemata (-6.1 percent).

However the overall national resolution rate was 47.3 percent, which is just under 1 percent lower than the previous year.

Family violence-related offences dropped 3.1 percent and including 2.1 percent reduction in family violence assaults which police said reverses trends of previous years.

Deputy Police Commissioner Viv Rickard said the results are very positive and reflect the police and public commitment to prevention and community safety strategies.

"The last 12 months have been a particularly eventful year in New Zealand. I commend the commitment from all of our staff as we dealt with some significant issues including the response to the Canterbury earthquakes," Deputy Commissioner Rickard said.

"The earthquake factor has without a doubt influenced crime reductions in the Canterbury District, particularly in theft and related offending, which dropped by almost 20 percent.

"Theft related crime is traditionally low in value but high in volume, and a source of great frustration and violation for victims, not just in Canterbury but everywhere.

"There was a noticeable drop in minor thefts after the February earthquake, and while it's hard to define the reason, I firmly believe that this was helped by so many people rallying to help their families, friends, neighbours and even strangers during very stressful times.

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"We also had significant numbers of additional police working in the city providing reassurance patrols and supporting their colleagues. This high visibility and the fact that the CBD was so badly affected and cordoned off will also have been a contributing factor."

Deputy Commissioner Rickard said the 34 murders is the lowest since fiscal year crime statistics began being reported 25 years ago.

"This is good news in one sense but we all need to remember that one murder and one family member assaulted, whether it is a child or an adult, is one victim too many."