Auckland mayoral candidate Leo Molloy is promising a ratepayer-funded downtown police station to protect Aucklanders in the fight against growing crime.
Molloy said if he becomes mayor in October, he will seek support from the 20 councillors and if they don't support him he will pay for the police station out of the mayoral office budget.
There have been growing calls for the return of a permanently manned police station in the central city to combat rising crime and anti-social behaviour.
In March, city centre residents pleaded unsuccessfully for a new station following a shooting in Fort St that left three people seriously injured, including Poull Anderson, the 33-year-old brother of radio host Jay-Jay Feeney.
The former downtown police station in Fort St closed in 2013.
Molloy was responding to today's announcement by Police Minister Poto Williams that the Government will spend $6 million on installing bollards or other protection measures to help shop owners hit hard by ram raids.
Molloy said the package won't touch the surface in Tāmaki Makaurau, saying it can cost up to $1000 to install each fixed security bollard.
"There are more than 2500 dairies and small retailers alone across Auckland. What about petrol stations and other small businesses in malls and town centres," he said.
Molloy said he had spoken with the new Auckland City Area Commander Grae Anderson about making a downtown police station happen subject to the approval of police national headquarters.
The police, who have also moved the central police station on Mayoral Drive to Freemans Bay, have no plans to reopen a downtown station. Instead, they favour a visible presence on foot and by vehicle.
Molloy said, if need be, he would fund the lease for a new police station out of the mayoral office budget, which is more than $4m a year. The restaurateur said the cost could be about $200,000 a year.
"I can't think of many issues that are more important than law and order downtown," said Molloy, who has also promised to invest in CCTV cameras in public spaces with 24 hour monitoring.
Another mayoral candidate, Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck, is also campaigning on bringing back a downtown police station and greater support from the Government for small businesses hit by crime.
"Aucklanders have been calling for more local police resources and community safety action repeatedly over the last two years, and it has sadly fallen on deaf ears," Beck said.
The Herald is seeking comment from the police about Molloy's proposal.