Keeping our community safe

Botany-based Labour MP Naisi Chen says she acknowledges Howick’s community constables for their work keeping the community safe. Times photo Wayne Martin
  • By Naisi Chen, Labour list MP based in Botany

Last week the current Howick Police Station closed while the search for a new site continued.

The police have committed to opening a new station in Howick, but they are based out of Ormiston for now. I want to acknowledge our awesome community constables for their work keeping our community safe.

This is something our Government is also committed to. In 2019, we delivered on our promise of 1800 new police officers, helping reduce crime, particularly gang activity. We also recently established a new firearms unit and tactical response model to support frontline staff.

Another critical way we are keeping our community safe is through the Government’s Covid-19 response. With Omicron in the community, our strongest weapon to protest our friends and family is getting boosted. Uptake has been brilliant so far, with more than 1.8 million Kiwis stepping up for this extra layer of protection. If it’s been three months since your second dose, head into one of the 29 vaccination sites in east Auckland and get boosted.

We’re also protecting the community by minimising the risk of transmission through the traffic light framework alongside the close contact exemption scheme that will help keep critical supply chains running.

Another part of this is vaccine mandates for some industries. I know the vast majority of New Zealanders support this approach, despite a tiny group who have illegally occupied the streets of Wellington over the past fortnight. New Zealanders have the right to protest, but this has gone too far. The vitriol being disseminated is unacceptable, while the protesters continued presence undermines the rule of law.

We must stand united in opposition. Given that, it’s unfortunate the MP for Botany [and National leader Christopher Luxon] appears to have spotted an opportunity for political gain.

He can oppose mandates, but not in a way that condones anti-vaccination sentiment and violence against the public.

Alongside this work, the Government continues to invest in east Auckland. Last week, we announced funding for Somerville Intermediate School as part of a $21 million package of school property upgrades. This Labour Government is not just keeping our community safe – we’re also investing for the future.