Kaikohe business owners have welcomed more police for the town, but say a boost to the local economy is needed to tackle the town's social issues that lead to crime.

Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted there are not enough police officers in New Zealand and is in talks with Prime Minister John Key over boosting numbers.

This week police confirmed reinforcements from Auckland had started work on clearing a backlog of serious crime files in Northland. A team of 12 officers started this week in the region with six investigators being based in Kaitaia and the other six in Kaikohe where a number of serious files had not been assigned.

Another six officers would be split to serve on the frontline in Kaikohe and Kaitaia for a month and six investigators would be based in the Far North for a year.


The boost to Northland's thin blue line is too little too late and the temporary policing fix needs to be permanent, according to New Zealand First leader and Northland MP Winston Peters.

Business owners in Kaikohe are throwing their weight behind Mr Peters' call for more officers for the region.

Steve Sangster, former chairman of the Kaikohe Business Association, said the crime issue was indicative of a broken economy and the Government needed to boost the local economy.

He pointed to high unemployment rates and low incomes as some of the issues that needed attention in order to see a drop in crime.

"We don't have enough cops covering Kaikohe at the moment so we need police here to shore up the numbers. But the Government and local council need to look at how to get people to invest here in the long term."

Fellow Kaikohe businessman Tony Taylor said local police were working extremely hard and more staff were desperately needed. He said the extra staff were just filling a gap and allowing the other staff to take their holidays.

"These cops are working bloody hard but ... we need at least 30 more staff to cover extra shifts and so there is 24-hour cover," Mr Taylor said. "We don't want a temporary fill, we want more fulltime staff."

He said Judith Collins needed to come to Kaikohe and speak with the victims of crime to truly understand the impact the lack of police had.

Mr Peters said the Government has been sitting on its hands and was now looking for a quick fix with the extra staff.

"More police is the answer, not putting out fires, that's just a half-hearted measure. The facts are that Northland is under-staffed in policing," Mr Peters said.