Big money to boost po­lice and tackle jail num­bers

The New Zealand Herald - - News - — Anna Leask, Isaac Davison, Sam Hur­ley

The gov­ern­ment has poured mil­lions of dol­lars into build­ing pop-up jail cells to cope with the grow­ing prison pop­u­la­tion.

But at the same time, it has boosted fund­ing for po­lice — mean­ing more of­fi­cers on the street and more crim­i­nals locked up.

Nearly $200 mil­lion will be spent build­ing new “rapid-build mod­u­lar units” at pris­ons by the end of 2019 for 600 ad­di­tional in­mates.

An­other $316m over four years will go to­wards run­ning jails.

The coali­tion Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing the prison pop­u­la­tion by 30 per cent over 15 years.

The prison muster is cur­rently 10,700 — leav­ing just 350 spare beds. It is fore­cast to rise 12,000 by 2025.

The Gov­ern­ment has promised 1800 new of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing 1100 more of­fi­cers on the streets.

The Bud­get fund­ing will en­able the re­cruit­ment of 920 new of­fi­cers and The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion gains for con­ser­va­tion ini­tia­tives over the next four years. Preda­tor con­trol re­ceives to help pro­tect threat­ened species and habi­tats. for the Green In­vest­ment Fund which is de­signed to en­cour­age pri­vate-sec­tor in­vest­ment. and some US states, green in­vest­ment funds have been hugely suc­cess­ful, at­tract­ing cap­i­tal to fund low-car­bon tran­si­tions and re­duce cli­mate pol­lu­tion,” Shaw said.

Else­where in the Bud­get’s green fund­ing was a big boost for na­ture — sig­nalled on Sat­ur­day when Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Eugenie Sage an­nounced an ex­tra $81.3m in op­er­at­ing funds for preda­tor con­trol across an un­prece­dented 1.8m ha.

That fell within $181m for the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion, with $16.2m specif­i­cally ear-marked to beef up its core ca­pa­bil­ity and ca­pac­ity.

An­other $5.5m of the DOC fund­ing would im­prove tourism man­age­ment: Sage said that in­volved strate­gies around how vis­i­tors could “be moved around bet­ter, rather than putting in ev­er­ex­pand­ing carparks”.

While there had been no Cab­i­net de­ci­sion yet on a levy for in­ter­na­tional tourists, an an­nounce­ment on the is­sue was ex­pected soon.

And 2.6m would go to­ward pro­tect­ing the bio­di­ver­sity-rich Macken­zie Basin.

“Th­ese of­fi­cers will be key to pre­vent­ing crime, re­spond­ing to calls for ser­vice to help keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe, and ap­pre­hend­ing of­fend­ers who com­mit bur­glar­ies, rob­beries, theft and vi­o­lence.”

About 700 ad­di­tional po­lice will fo­cus on se­ri­ous and or­gan­ised crime.

“This in­vest­ment will en­able us to more ef­fec­tively com­bat un­law­ful gang ac­tiv­ity and other or­gan­ised crim­i­nal net­works, and work to re­duce harm from metham­phetamine and other drugs that de­stroy lives, wreck fam­i­lies and weaken com­mu­ni­ties,” Bush said.

Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent Craig Tick­elpenny said the $300m com­mit­ment was “se­ri­ous” and “des­per­ately needed to ad­dress the grow­ing pres­sures on front­line 24/7 staff”.

“The front­line should be the first cab off the al­lo­ca­tion rank,” he said.

“We have al­ways made it very clear to the min­is­ter that staffing is­sues top the list of con­cerns our mem­bers have, and we are pleased our voice has been heard.”

Tick­elpenny said Po­lice Min­is­ter Stu­art Nash had as­sured the as­so­ci­a­tion that the new of­fi­cers would be fully costed at $140,000 each to be duty ready — in­clud­ing salary, train­ing and equip­ment needed to do their jobs ef­fec­tively and safely.

Cor­rec­tions Min­is­ter Kelvin Davis said the Bud­get marked the start of the Gov­ern­ment’s plans to “re­form New Zealand’s Cor­rec­tions land­scape”.

As part of that, he wanted to en­sure that there was more sup­port for ex­pris­on­ers in the com­mu­nity and to pre­vent re­of­fend­ing.

To ad­dress this, $57.6m has been poured into hous­ing and sup­port ser­vices, which will help 300 peo­ple a year, cov­er­ing hous­ing costs, job train­ing, health and other ser­vices.

An­other $82.7m over four years would be spent on in­creas­ing the num­ber of pro­ba­tion of­fi­cers by 270, and elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing would get $8.6m in fund­ing to ex­pand it to 1000 peo­ple in to­tal.

Bud­get 2018 de­liv­ered fund­ing across other crime and jus­tice realms, in­clud­ing a to­tal of nearly $10m com­mit­ted to the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice for de­tect­ing, in­ves­ti­gat­ing and pros­e­cut­ing cases of se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial crime.

An ex­tra $13.4m will be spent over four years for youth jus­tice, as 17-year-old of­fend­ers are to be dealt with in the Youth Court.

Vic­tim sup­port ser­vices will get an ex­tra $13.5m over four years to help New Zealan­ders ac­cess cri­sis re­sponse — par­tic­u­larly around do­mes­tic and sex­ual vi­o­lence — and longterm so­cial sup­port ser­vices.

And in­ter­na­tional drug traf­fick­ing will be tar­geted through a $54.2m fund­ing boost for Cus­toms over the next four years.

Photo / Be­van Con­ley

Plenty to sing about, at least from an en­vi­ron­men­tal view­point. The Bud­get pumped an ex­tra $81.3m into preda­tor con­trol.

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