- By Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga
Since Labour first took power in 2017, the number of assaults on corrections officers by prisoners has nearly doubled, from 463 in the 2016/17 financial year to over 900 in the 2020/21 financial year.
This is a disgrace and clearly shows that the Government is more invested in the criminals than in their victims or those whose job it is to keep them locked up.
Corrections officers have one of the toughest jobs in the country and put themselves in harm’s way every day, something many of us could never do.
It is the Government’s responsibility to ensure they are as safe as they can be and these statistics show that Labour is failing in their duty to our corrections staff.
Sadly, this is not particularly surprising and is just one of dozens of statistical indicators that Labour’s soft-on-crime approach doesn’t work.
Criminals are taking our justice system less seriously each day, realising they can get away with more under this Government than they could before.
Gang numbers are out of control and gang members are responsible for about three-quarters of the assaults reported above.
I hear it regularly from our frontline police and corrections officers – they are feeling less supported and resourced than they have in a long time.
I know you feel it too, with public surveys over the last couple of years reporting that New Zealanders are feeling less safe in their own communities and homes than they used to.
Just this week we saw yet another tragic firearms incident where police were shot at and forced to return fire, resulting in injuries to several officers.
I am deeply worried that these types of incidents are on the rise.
It is obvious by every measure that crime is worsening under Labour and the worst part is that it isn’t because of any specific policy or decision, but instead a complete lack of interest and total inaction by the Government.
Our frontline officers in police and corrections do a fantastic job and continue to perform at a high level despite the often-limited support they get from their government.
Something has to change. We need to get tougher on crime and do a whole lot more to ensure those responsible for keeping us safe have the tools they need to do so and, most importantly, are themselves kept safe.