The Government is using ''spin'' to describe planned reduced staffing hours at Dargaville and Wellsford Police Stations, according to the MP for Northland, Matt King.
He was commenting on what he called a ''quiet'' move to cut in-station staff hours at seven bases around New Zealand, from 24 hours, seven days a week, to what the Government calls ''24/Demand''.
King said the decision to cut on-site hours at Dargaville, which is in the Whangārei/Kaipara policing area, and Wellsford, which is in the Waitemata district, would create more victims of crime.
The Labour-led Coalition had axed the former the National Government's target to have 95 per cent of New Zealanders living within 25km of a 24-hour police station — ''and tried to keep it quiet,'' he said.
''The Wellsford station will not be 24/7 and the Dargaville station will now be called 24/Demand, which is just spin,'' King said.
''It means police will need to guess when the station should be open 24 hours, but that won't be all the time.''
A spokeswoman for Minister of Police Stuart Nash said with the extra investment of 1800 more police in Budget 2018, the staffing regime and the view officers should be sitting in empty police stations, which King was referring to, had changed.
The population and distance ratio/target proposed just before the National Government was ousted had been removed, and district commanders could now use a demand-based approach to regional staffing distribution.
''This revised approach means police districts have more flexibility to deploy staff in a way that ensures officers are working when and where they are needed most, based on demand as determined by the local district commander.''
As it is, only three police stations in Northland are staffed 24/7: Kaitaia, Mid-North (Kaikohe) and Whangārei.
Northland District Commander Tony Hill was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Whangārei/Kaipara area commander Inspector Justin Rogers said the Dargaville station had not been staffed 24/7 for some years.
Staff were already being rostered where and when they were most needed, in keeping with effective policing and having more officers visible in the community, he said.