Key Points:

The billionaire British lord who put up the reward money for Waiouru's stolen war medals is back in New Zealand to help set up the successful Crimestoppers tip-off phone line.

Lord Michael Ashcroft, who set up Crimestoppers in Britain 20 years ago, arrived in New Zealand yesterday for meetings with Police Commissioner Howard Broad and Police Minister Judith Collins.

Crimestoppers is an independent service where people can anonymously pass on information about crime to a 24-hour phoneline which is then provided to police. Rewards are offered in some cases.

It has resulted in almost 90,000 arrests in Britain, including 800 for murder.

The introduction of Crimestoppers in New Zealand would mark a significant change for policing, with police currently controlling tip-off lines and the issuing of rewards.

Lord Ashcroft has put $14.1 million of his own money into the British Crimestoppers, but it is not known if he has offered cash to start a service in New Zealand.
He is here at the invitation of Mr Broad, but has paid his own way, bringing the chief executive of Crimestoppers with him.

The police decision to pursue Crimestoppers began out of discussions Mr Broad had with Lord Ashcroft after he put $200,000 towards the reward that led to the return of 96 medals stolen from the Waiouru Army Museum - although the reward is widely believed to have been claimed by the thieves.

Lord Ashcroft then offered another $200,000 reward for information that led to the thieves.

Ms Collins said she believed Crimestoppers could "play a valuable support role" to police.

Rewards are rarely claimed in New Zealand. Before the privately-funded war medal reward, $800,000 had been offered by the police but not a cent had been paid.

Lord Ashcroft will also meet with Prime Minister John Key today.

Lord Ashcroft, who is ranked 65th on the Sunday Times rich list, has pumped millions of pounds into the Conservative Party in Britain and donations linked to him are currently being investigated by the Electoral Commission there.

He once made a A$1 million donation to Australia's conservative Liberal Party.

Mr Key said Lord Ashcroft "indicated he wanted to come say hello" but said they would not be discussing donations.

"I don't anticipate I will be asking for donations, nor do I believe he will be offering them."