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Thursday, September 3

Labour earmarked dozens of stations for closure

The police do not have a list of police stations identified for closure, unlike the previous Labour government under which secret reports were written targeting dozens of North Island police stations, Police Minister Judith Collins said.

"This government opens police stations, not closes them. This Government has already opened five new police stations this year, with a sixth - in Christchurch South - due to be opened on September 11," Ms Collins said.

"Despite alarmist claims by the Opposition, I am advised there is no list of police stations identified for closure.

"Their claims ring hollow given that under their watch secret reports were written that looked at closing or merging hundreds of police stations around the North Island to save money."

Earlier, in 2000, the Labour government came under fire from the Police Association for allowing basic facilities and equipment to become run down. In some areas basic equipment items, even things like raincoats, weren't being provided.

"The then Police Minister, George Hawkins, went so far as to suggest making police recruits pay for their training was among options under review to free up money for spending in other areas," Ms Collins said. "Police funding their own training is an outrageous idea."

Ms Collins said that like all Government departments, the police are constantly evaluating budgets to ensure the taxpayer is getting value for money.

"This government is committed to ensuring our police are well trained, well resourced and well supported," Ms Collins said.

"I have made it clear to the police that any reduction in spending should not jeopardise the safety of the public. I have received an assurance from the Police Commissioner that it won't."

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