While the Beehive is silent, Seymour steals a march by railing against the Ardern team’s law-and-order performance

Buzz from the Beehive

Sorry, folks (although – on second thoughts – you might regard this as good news).

There has been no buzz from the Beehive since January 9, when  Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall announced that a vaccine for people at risk of mpox (or monkeypox) will be available to people who meet eligibility criteria from January 16.

This does not mean other politicians have nothing to say.  A visit to the Scoop website shows Opposition MPs have been issuing press statements, no doubt hoping to attract the attention of the government-subsidised mainstream media while the Beehive buglers have been silent.

The ACT Party today exploited the public’s increasing disquiet about crime by launching the next phase of its ‘We hear ya’ campaign’ (a slogan which should disqualify ACT politicians from taking over the Education portfolio in any future government in which they are a coalition partner).   

In a statement headed Sick Of Crime? We Hear Ya!, ACT leader David Seymour said:

“Crime is out of control, whether it’s smash and grabs, ram raids or carjackings, Kiwis have had enough.”

As ACT MPs travelled around the country last year, carrying out 208 public meetings, they heard “the fear and frustration” from New Zealanders, Seymour said.

“Crime is out of control and they want to see consequences for offenders and victims being taken of.

“No other party has released more policy to tackle crime than ACT…”

Seymour’s concerns have been echoed on the Homepaddock blog, under an article headed How did it come to this?

This was triggered by news that a 13 year-old has been arrested after a ram raid.

Hawke’s Bay Police have arrested a 13-year-old in relation to a ram raid burglary at a business in Napier on Wednesday morning.

The arrest followed the execution of a search warrant at a Cranby Crescent property that afternoon.

Police recovered stolen items at the address, and seized a small number of cannabis plants. .

Homepaddock observes this should be very unusual, but it isn’t, and (linking to a Radio New Zealand report) reports:

With increasing levels of shoplifting and retail crime rates at a new all-time high, it might be easy to point the finger at inflation and the ever-rising cost of living.

But Retail NZ says most people are not stealing to eat or keep themselves above the water.

Retail crime rates have been on the rise for the past four years. Reports of theft dropped slightly in 2020, which could be linked to strict Covid-19 lockdowns during that year, but overall have been skyrocketing with thousands more cases recorded between 2020 and 2021, and then 2021 to 2022.

Police data shows shoplifting crimes (robbery, burglary and theft) increased to a fresh high last year, with police receiving 241,638 reports.

That was up by almost 41,000 compared with the 2021 total of 208,445.

In 2020, police received 186,142 reports of robbery, burglary and theft.

Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said increasing retail crime was the result of a bigger resale market, with thieves stealing on demand and selling goods on.

Low-level retail crime often fell under the radar of police because it was hard to bring about prosecutions, Harford said. He would like to see a new, simpler system introduced to target offenders – and said that was the only way to bring these rates down.

“We are certainly hearing that theft is up and as always it is being accompanied by more aggression, violence and nastiness towards staff,” Harford said.

“This is a long-term trend being driven essentially by the fact that people think if they steal stuff they won’t get caught and that they can then sell those products on to generate a profit for themselves.

“The increases that we’re seeing, the bulk of it is very organised. These are gangs of people out there who are stealing to order; it is not people who are stealing to feed themselves.”

Retail NZ had been calling for years for the establishment of a retail crime unit within the police, which was established last year. But the organisation would like to see more resourcing put aside for that unit and the “government to come to the party” with a penalty scheme.

Harford believed a fine, similar in style to a traffic ticket, for “low-level retail crime” that sent a message there would be consequences even for stealing something small would bring offending down almost overnight. . . 

Homepaddock says stealing to eat is wrong but understandable – but:

This looks more like crime as a job.

Changing that requires treating the causes and making those who commit the crimes face consequences.

A fine system would be a good start.

ACT has much stiffer penalties in mind.  It would

  • Introduce Gang Injunction Orders
  • Ankle bracelets for youth offenders
  • Turn Inland Revenue on the gangs
  • Introduce tools to crack down on gangs and illegal firearm use
  • Electronically monitor spending for gang members on welfare
  • Restrict the use of electronic bail, while dropping the target for lower prison numbers
  • Infringement notices for youth offenders, leading to instant, practical penalties instead of justice delayed
  • Introduce Three Strikes for burglary, recognising it is a recidivist crime
  • Introduce financial reparations made by the Crown, so victims don’t have to watch their attacker putting 65 cents a week in their account for 10 years
  • Re-introduce Three Strikes
  • Increasing police in line with the population
  • Introduce a policy of no rehab, no parole
  • An Independent Review of the IPCA
  • Make changes to the Arms Act.

Other party statements posted on the Scoop website during the Beehive’s silence include:

Millions Wasted To Slow Trips To Wellington Airport

Let’s Get Wellington Moving has spent $2.4 million on a pedestrian crossing that will make trips to Wellington Airport even slower, National’s Transport spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

Reserve Bank On Holiday When Inflation Is Out Of Control? We Hear Ya!

“Kiwis are probably wondering why Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr insists that taking three months off is a good idea while inflation is spiralling out of control, ACT hears ya,” says ACT’s Associate Finance spokesperson Damien Smith.

More Money For Infrastructure? We Hear Ya!

“To get more houses there needs to be more infrastructure, the problem is that even when the council hikes your rates they can’t afford infrastructure. ACT has the solution in the form of my GST Sharing Member’s Bill,” says ACT’s Housing says ACT’s Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

One thought on “While the Beehive is silent, Seymour steals a march by railing against the Ardern team’s law-and-order performance

  1. How, in the name of commonsense does a local government agency spend $2.4 million on one pedestrian crossing !!! The Auditor-General needs to look into this, and perhaps the SFO as well. Is this the result of corruption or over-regulation ?

    Liked by 1 person

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