A senior Northland police officer says the thin blue line has remained strong despite Winston Peters claiming it has been stretched thinner.

New Zealand First Leader and Northland Member of Parliament Mr Peters said police were concentrating their rostered staff in bigger centres at the expense of small towns.

"Saying the bigger centres can cover the smaller towns is simply not true. They can't and they are not," Mr Peters said.

"These police shortages are happening in my own electorate of Northland. On two of the days over those four weekends, Kaitaia, with a population of around 5000, was down to two rostered staff."


He was referring to statistics obtained by New Zealand First from the police for staff on duty over four weekends last April.

Last June Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis revealed that frontline police numbers in Northland had dropped by 19 per cent in the past six years.

In an emailed response to the latest claims by Mr Peters, Acting Far North Area Commander Inspector Al Symonds said there had been no staff reductions and currently there were 330 sworn staff and eight authorised officers stationed in the region.

He said those numbers had remained stable for the last six years.

The introduction of eight authorised officers, who had limited constabulary powers, allowed sworn staff more time on the street.

Mr Symonds said the Kaitaia officers would have been assisted by road policing officers rostered on, with all staff having the capability to deal with any incidents as they arose.

"We have rosters that ensure we stay at a certain level for their and the public's safety. If for any reason the numbers drop, because of sick leave, then the district command centre in conjunction with senior staff then ensure there is sufficient staff to assist. For instance we can call on road policing, who are working in the area."

The Northern Advocate asked if police were considering closing Kawakawa station and incorporating those staff into Kerikeri station and if police were considering centralising their operation in the Mid and Far North to Kerikeri, which would mean the closure of some smaller station in that policing area.

Mr Symonds said: "We are not closing any police stations."

He also said there were three permanent staff in Paihia and those numbers were boosted by other staff from the area or district as required during busy times such as Christmas and New Year.

In August last year Mr Peters questioned why police did not appoint a temporary replacement in Kohukohu after the serving officer transferred.

Mr Symonds said a successful applicant had turned down the position so the job was about to be re-advertised.

The area was being covered by staff from Kaitaia.