Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
#PM Christopher Luxon

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has confirmed the Government still hopes to recruit 500 new police officers in the next two years — despite Police Minister Mark Mitchell’s suggestion it could take longer than that.
The coalition agreement between National and New Zealand First includes a commitment to “training no fewer than 500 new frontline police within the first two years”.
But Mitchell said in Parliament yesterday: “The Government’s policy is to deliver 500 additional police officers over the term of this Government, which is three years.”
He also told Breakfast on Monday: “I think, realistically, 500 new staff over the next three years is what we’re aiming for.”
Labour slammed the apparent goalpost shift – but this morning, on Breakfast, Luxon said Mitchell may have simply “muddled his words”.
“Mark could have expressed himself better. What he was talking to was some of the significant challenges police are certainly facing with respect to recruitment,” Luxon said. Prime minister was asked if the Minister Mitchell is going to correct the records in the Parliament to which he answered saying he will work through this on Wednesday morning.
“But we’re an ambitious government, we know it’s hard, we know it’s tough, we know it’s challenging, but we’re sticking with 500 police officers in two years.”
He said he had not been a party to any discussions the target be moved to three years.
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said after Mitchell’s comments in Parliament a thorough discussion took place between the Minister and the New Zealand First leaders on the policy to iron out any misunderstanding.
The Prime Minister said: “He may have muddled his words a little bit, but our coalition agreement stands, which is that we want to deliver 500 new police within the two-year period, and that’s what we’re very focused on.
“What Mark’s talking to is the difficulty around that in terms of actually recruitment challenges that we have, retiring police force, and certainly an Australian campaign that’s been pretty successful with our police officers as well.
“But we’re not backing down on that, we want to go for that goal – and we know it’s tough, we know it’s challenging, but between us and police we’re going to be committed to delivering that.”
Winston Peters on Mark Mitchell police timeline comments:27
NZ First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said he’d spoken to National about Mitchell’s comments.
Luxon was grilled on the apparent discrepancy, but he maintained the target timeline was unchanged.
“Our coalition agreement commitment to deliver 500 police in two years stands,” he said. “We’re acknowledging the challenges, and that’s what he was talking to.
“But that’s not a reason for us to change the target, we’re going to be very committed to going after 500 new police in a two-year period because that’s important in order to be able to restore law and order.”
Later, on Breakfast, NZ First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said he’d spoken to National about Mitchell’s comments.
Peters said he told National: “Some people are making a mistake here, let’s sort this out.
“We made a promise, we think law and order’s critical.”
Labour leader and former Prime Minister Christopher Hipkins was critical of the government and said this is a government where left hand doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is doing.
Christopher Luxon said we have a problem here, but we are not giving up on it at all and our plan is to deliver on our promises.
In a statement this morning, Mitchell echoed Luxon’s comments.
-with inputs from 1news

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