New Zealanders would benefit from crime and justice investments at community level rather than on white collar and international scales, say a couple who lost priceless family heirlooms in a brazen daylight burglary.
Phil and Sharyn Taunt's Westmere home had its back door smashed with a hammer at Easter.
Thieves ignored a monitored alarm to take nearly $10,000 worth of jewellery, technology and irreplaceable family videos and antiques.
The Taunts were disappointed to see the decrease in police spending outlined in yesterday's Budget, and believed the focus on response rates rather than investigations would not reduce offending like burglaries.
After five years unchanged, the police budget was decreased by 1 per cent, from $1.624 billion to $1.609 billion.
Of that, investigation funding was reduced by 0.29 per cent and primary response management was given a 4.38 per cent boost. "Unless you are finding out who these people are and bringing justice to them the burglaries will keep happening ... ," said Mr Taunt.
"Investigating rather than making sure a policeman comes around within 24 hours will have a greater effect."
He also questioned the increase in funding for serious financial crime - given an extra $8.1 million over the next four years - and spying - given $20 million this year.
"White collar crime is usually well hidden and hard to investigate and sucks up a lot of money whereas with petty crime you'd probably get a lot more bang for your buck," he said.
"I don't see why they are heaping money into the SIS [Security Intelligence Service] - I would have thought domestic crime would have been a government priority for the citizens of New Zealand."
Police Minister Michael Woodhouse said the $164 million for operational funding would help to reduce crime.
"Increased foot patrols in our communities, combined with frontline staff being equipped with the latest mobile technology, have allowed the police to be more visible and deliver over half a million additional frontline hours each year," he said.
Mr Woodhouse said $41 million more was being delivered over the next four years than was forecast in the previous budget. There was a greater need to tackle white collar crime, he said.
Police Association vice-president Luke Shadbolt said the $41 million was needed to maintain services, but no new funding meant problem areas - such as domestic violence, child abuse and organised crime - would remain unchanged.
"Crimes like burglaries and family violence have a lot of victims and they are important areas of policing - if you want to make changes you have got to put some resources into it."
Mr Woodhouse's office was unable to address questions around the police's road safety programme - which has been highly criticised following the summer road toll and was another area losing funding.
Allocation was down 5.23 per cent, meaning the area would receive $305.1 million.
However, the agency planned to raise, largely through traffic fines, $86 million in revenue - up from $71 million forecast in the last Budget.
Labour's police spokesman Kelvin Davis said: "Police are having to do more with less and this results in cuts to services to communities such as police station closures, and fewer resources for police to do their jobs.
"This is done under the guise of police 'constantly reviewing where to place resources'.
"A cut is a cut and this is unacceptable."
Police spending 2015/2016 highlights
• Investigations - down 0.29 per cent to $378.2m.
• Specific crime prevention - up 1.1 per cent to $154.7m.
• Police primary response management - up 4.38 per cent to $396.7m.
• Road safety - down 5 per cent to $305.1m.
• General crime prevention - up 0.91 per cent to $161.2m.