What reports has she received on the level of recorded crime in New Zealand?
I am very pleased to report that the rate of recorded crime dropped 7 percent per head of population in the fiscal year to 30 June. The rate of crime dropped in all police districts, with the biggest falls in Canterbury, Southern, Tasman, Central, and Waitematā districts. I am also pleased to report that the murder rate is the lowest since fiscal-year reporting began in 1986. It is also good to see a drop in recorded family violence and acts intended to cause injury. The police are to be congratulated on the outstanding work they have been doing to make our communities safer.
What advice has she received on the reason for the fall in the rate of crime?
The continuing fall in the level of crime in New Zealand is very encouraging. It shows that crime can be brought under control when the police are backed by the Government and given the tools to get on with the job. It also reflects the strategies being implemented by the police under the Policing Excellence programme. A greater focus on prevention and initiatives such as neighbourhood policing teams are starting to make a real difference in our communities. Although the drop is encouraging, it does not mean that we will be taking the pressure off criminals. This Government will continue to back the police in the excellent work they are doing.
When will she recognise that crime in New Zealand will never drop to a satisfactory level as long as there is prejudice against Māori in the justice system; if she has already come to that realisation, when can we expect the Māori Party’s justice policy of reviewing the justice system to happen?
My focus is always on victims, actually. I think it is important to recognise that although Māori are overrepresented in the crime statistics as offenders, they are also overrepresented as victims. Frankly, focusing on someone’s race is not going to make it any better. We have to bring down crime, deal with offenders, and, in fact, prevent victimisation.