Police Minister Poto Williams – explaining her opposition to Armed Response Teams a few weeks back – said she would not be backing down on her strong stance not to support the general arming of police because the Māori and Pacific Island communities she represents do not want it.
But whoa. As MP for Christchurch East, isn’t she supposed to represent the people of that community of many ethnicities?
And as Minister of Police, isn’t she supposed to have some regard for the wellbeing of our police officers?
And today (lest anyone might doubt it ) she said the Government is committed to keeping the country’s frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe.
Accordingly, at the Police College in Porirua, she was announcing “one of the largest investments in frontline safety”.
We didn’t find any mention of the cops getting many more guns, fair to say.
To the contrary, Williams said:
“I want to be clear – the new Tactical Response Model is not Armed Response Teams. These officers will wear standard police uniforms, drive standard police vehicles, and will not be armed in their day-to-day duties. They will support frontline investigation and prevention teams and will focus on high–risk offenders, firearms, methamphetamine, and organised crime groups.”
But the cops will get more dogs.
The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in new funding for a new Tactical Response Model, the expansion of the Frontline Skills Enhancement Course, and an additional 78 constabulary staff and 28 intelligence analysts.
The main features are:
- More than doubling the current tactical training to frontline staff from 3.5 to 7.5 days a year.
- Tactical Prevention Teams with advanced tactical training (AOS-level) to undertake warrants and other work involving moderate risk, who are generally unarmed unless specific deployment requires.
- Tactical Dog Teams to be double crewed with another staff member trained to AOS level – increasing safety for handlers and also enabling an advanced tactical capability to support critical incidents.
- A new intelligence-led risk-based deployment framework to bring tactical capability together holistically and guide deployment through comprehensive risk assessments and proactive offender management.
The announcement is to be found on The Beehive website along with news that the Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading. This will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including the Clean Car Import Standard and Clean Car Discount.
Transport Minister Michael Wood reckons this legislation
“… will help prevent millions of tonnes of emissions from our light vehicle fleet, give Kiwis access to more cars that are cheaper to run, and make it cheaper for families to buy electric and low emission cars. It also helps bring us into line with most other countries in the OECD who already have import emission standards.”
Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the legislation will help us move “more meaningfully” towards cleaning up our light vehicle fleet, a crucial part of the government’s plan to decarbonise the transport system.
Health Minister Andrew Little made an announcement, too, in a statement which reflected his liking (shared by many of his colleagues) for a cumbersome hybrid of English and te reo.
A programme called Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is
“…the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and sets out how to achieve pae ora – healthy futures.”
It is part of the Government’s response to He Ara Oranga: the report into Mental Health and Addiction services in New Zealand.
“He Ara Oranga and the cross-government investment approach from Budget 2019, is what forms the basis of Kia Manawanui.”
Two other new announcements relate to Covid-19. One sets out stiffer penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders from early November 2021, the other tells us the Government is pumping a further $18 million into a campaign to lift rates of Māori vaccination.
“Māori are one of the most at-risk communities for COVID-19 and vaccination rates for Māori are behind the general population.”
They may well be the most measured community, too.
So what about poor non-Maori people?
Because the government doesn’t have data to highlight their plight (so far as we know), they tend to be forgotten in the policy considerations of a government focused on race rather than need.
Latest from the Beehive
Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says.
Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams.
Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says.
Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.
Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today.