“Now that he has admitted he was wrong about the escalation of crime in flood-affected areas, the Prime Minister needs to start listening to local leaders and send in the Defence Force to help communities besieged by crime,” says ACT’s Police spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Speaking on the AM Show this morning, the Prime Minister admitted that reports of violent crime he had previously dismissed were real, and blamed Police for providing him with incorrect information.

“Instead of defensively throwing Police under the bus, Hipkins needs to start taking local leaders seriously and send in the troops to provide an assurance to locals that the tough situation they’re in isn’t going to be made worse by becoming victims of crime.

“Federated Farmers have also called for the deployment of the Defence Force, their members in isolated areas are reporting increases in looting and say that by the time they call the police the looters are long gone.

“Section 9 of the Defence Act means the military can assist the Police with civil powers. Looting gangsters might not think they’re so tough when they meet the NZDF.

“Hipkins says "the question at the time was whether the military should basically replace the police". That’s not how it works. The Defence Force would be acting as additional constables if and only if the operate under the supervision of a constable.

“He needs to listen to victims instead of talking down to them. Why would people report crimes when even the Prime Minister is telling people they’re not happening?

“Some people have lost almost everything, and they’re terrified of losing their remaining few possessions. Whether their fear is founded or not, that’s the perception they have and they deserve to see an increased police presence.

“Instead of showing any compassion, or believing victims on the ground, the PM has dismissed them and accused victims and the Opposition of creating hysteria. Now he has been proven wrong, it is time for him to start listening to victims and to provide them some assurance by sending in the Defence Force.”

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