News: Winston Peters slams the government for spike in crime

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has slammed the government for its failure to curb the rising crime rate in the country and sympathised with the Indian business community for the current state of insecurity.

“Indian businesses contribute significantly to the development of our economy and the progress of our country. They have the right to safety and the current rise in aggravated robbery and other offences is unforgivable. We should hold the government to account,” he said.

Mr Peters was speaking to a small group of businesses at the Working Luncheon organised at the offices of Indian Newslink on Thursday, December 8, 2022. He was joined by former Minister for Regional Economic Development Shane Jones and former New Zealand First Member of Parliament Mahesh Bindra.

Tribute to Indian businesses

He said that the members of the Indian community for their hard work and perseverance and that the recent spate of crime in dairies, superettes and other retail stores was unacceptable. “The government has the responsibility to ensure that businesses operate under safety and security. New Zealand First has solutions to the problem,” he said.

Mr Peters said that his Party continues to advocate for a Police workforce that has the necessary funding, training, and personnel so that they can meet the challenges of our growing population and adapt to the many needs of our communities in the modern age.

“We are committed to recruiting a further 1000 new frontline police alongside the 2335 new frontline police we have already trained since the last election,” he said.

He said that his Party believes that keeping society safe should be the priority of law and order policies. All New Zealanders deserve to feel safe and secure in the communities they live.

“That is why New Zealand First has and continues to fix the flaws in our justice system while ensuring that victims of crime are prioritised over offenders,” he said.

Equality before law

Mr Jones said that his Party will ensure the equality of all New Zealanders and repeal laws that have divided the nation.

He said that New Zealand First is looking forward to forming the next government but did not go far as to say that he will work with the National and ACT Parties that are currently doing well in Opinion Polls.

He said that the government may run out of time to implement its Three Waters Infrastructure Reform without substantial challenge.

“The challenge by Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown, backed by the Christchurch and Waimakariri Mayors means that its mandate to act become shaky. The problem remains that there are small councils around the motu that are incapable of raising any more money to address the long-term challenges of small sewerage schemes failing, the inability of the developer to create more subdivision space for housing because what are you going to do with the wastewater. But I really do think the tide is well and truly running against the government on Three Waters,” he said.

Issues of concern

Mr Peters discussed issues related to the increasing number of suicides, mental health problems, e-mental health solutions, addressing the skills shortage through more robust training and upskilling programmes and incentives for businesses to grow.

Speaking on behalf of the Sikh community, Prithi Pal Singh said that the community is growing and is an active participant in all community welfare projects as well as businesses.

“From less than 500 people in 1968, we are today a 75,000-strong community. Sikhs are known for their religious and social values. We are also in various businesses and we deserve to be safe and secure. The rising crime against retailers is very concerning,” he said.

Mr Singh said that the Sikh community has been at the forefront of community service and has been working closely with the government since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We would welcome Maori and Pacifica people to our Gurdwaras and see the service that we render. We serve all communities,” he said.

The businesses present at the Luncheon included e-mental health, construction, property development, real estate, IT industry and retail trade sectors.