Police minister Judith Collins has slammed the Opposition for what she calls the spread of "alarmist" claims about police station closures.

"Their claims ring hollow, given that under their watch secret reports were written that looked at closing or merging hundreds of police stations around the North Island to save money."

Earlier, in 2000, the Labour government came under fire from the Police Association for allowing basic facilities and equipment to become run down, she said.

In some areas basic equipment items, even things like raincoats, weren't being provided, asserted Ms Collins.

"The then Police Minister, George Hawkins, went so far as to suggest making police recruits pay for their training was among options under review to free up money for spending in other areas," Ms Collins said.

"Police funding their own training is an outrageous idea."

Ms Collins said that like all Government departments, the police are constantly evaluating budgets to ensure the taxpayer is getting value for money.

A Cabinet paper to Ms Collins, released under the Official Information Act (OIA), discusses the sale of stations and police houses as part of a government-ordered line by line review of costs.

Police presented a list of cost-cutting measures to the Government before the budget and the briefing paper identifies the property portfolio as a target likely to be considered in "phase two" of the process.

Labour law and order spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said he had received details of plans to sell police stations and police houses nationwide.

"The papers, kept secret since February, say 'key areas likely to be considered further ... include: the property portfolio, including the rationalisation of housing and station numbers," Mr Cosgrove said.

He said the closure of police stations would have "potentially disastrous consequences for affected communities".

Suggestions include a "rationalisation" of housing and station numbers. The briefing from police identifies 600 properties within the police asset base.

Police general manager of finance Bruce Simpson said police must provide the best value for tax payer dollars and that includes the force's 600 buildings.

"We are looking at our property portfolio to ensure we are making the best use of our investment in them. There may be change in our use of buildings as a result. However there is no list of police stations, or other property scheduled for closure," Mr Simpson said.

The focus on property comes after the Herald reported in June that 10 per cent of the police's vehicles were to be cut to save money.

Mr Cosgrove said the latest sale plans were bad news for rural police.

"What are cops in a rural town that loses its station expected to do when they arrest someone? Chain them up in their backyard? Because they'll struggle to ship them off to cells in the nearest town as National has also chopped one tenth of their car fleet or 340 cars in this year's Budget," Mr Cosgrove said.

No details were given of which stations could be affected though the documents obtained by Labour said the closures would have to be "carefully managed".

After it was revealed that the number of police vehicles was to be cut, the Police Association warned the public to brace itself for a reduced service given that resources were already "very lean".

Ms Collins said at the time that police were getting an additional $162.5 million in the Budget for operational matters and $10 million in funding for Tasers.

She said police were making the decisions on cost-cutting.

Ms Collins is yet to comment on the report that police buildings could be sold off.

- NZ HERALD STAFF