Too many of us know the damage crime can do in our communities.

Beyond the suffering of the victims, whole neighbourhoods can be shaken by burglaries or assaults, let alone more serious crimes.

My family and I were burgled a few years ago, and it was certainly a difficult experience. Last year our next door neighbour suffered the same fate.

In 2017 this Government made a commitment to add 1800 new police officers to the force. Very soon more than 1800 new officers will have graduated on our watch. The Waikato has received an extra 158 graduates, and the Bay of Plenty an extra 146.


There has also been a renewed focus on community policing. Waikato Police have a new mobile policing van, to be more visible and accessible to the community.

The primary objective of this Community Hub vehicle is to give police the ability to get out into our communities to build relationships and strengthen trust, while at the same time reducing crime and victimisation in those areas.

This Government has given police greater search and seizure powers to target the manufacturers and suppliers of synthetic drugs, to get these drugs off our streets.

Legislation has been passed to stop methamphetamine entering the country, giving New Zealand Customs greater power to board vessels suspecting of carrying this drug.

We've installed 500 fog cannons in dairies, liquor stores and petrol stations across the country, supporting our small businesspeople by reducing the risk of aggravated robbery.

This Government takes community safety seriously and we're making the investments needed to intervene early before people break the law, or commit more serious crimes.

The total police workforce is now the largest it has ever been, and is expected to surpass 14,000 by early 2020.

The current recruitment drive has increased the number of Māori police officers to more than 1000, the number of female officers exceed 2000 and Pasifika officers exceed 500, all for the first time.


The Government has announced a new Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment court for Hamilton, following the success of two trial courts in Auckland.

The old ways of treating criminals have resulted in too little rehabilitation and more crime, while not doing enough to support victims.

Our sense of safety as a nation was undoubtedly rocked on March 15. The tragic events of that day will stay fixed in our memories, a painful reminder of the suffering that can come from hatred and extreme violence.

But those events also spotlighted the weaknesses in our gun laws.

We have now banned military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles, and introduced new firearms offences with tougher penalties. We're launching a gun register with stricter licensing rules.

We're doing all we can to ensure that only honest, law-abiding citizens are able to obtain a firearms licence, and that they take care with their guns.

As a member of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, I have recently been hearing submission on the Arms Legislation Bill, aiming to improve public safety by introducing tighter controls on use and possession of arms and ammunition.

While the Government plays an important role in keeping our communities safe, I believe we all have a part to play.

Our local community watch, neighbourhood support, Maori wardens, and other groups do a wonderful job building our community spirit and keeping us safe.

New Zealanders deserve to live in safe, vibrant, healthy communities; we must continue to work hard to ensure this is a reality.