Big money to boost police and tackle jail numbers
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.
Plenty to sing about, at least from an environmental viewpoint. The Budget pumped an extra $81.3m into predator control.