“Police Minister Stuart Nash and Defence Minister Andrew Little need to start listening to the needs of local communities and send help,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The first duty of Government is to keep people safe. People on the East Coast are terrified and their pleas for help should be listened to. As a local MP, Nash should understand that better than anyone.

“More than 6,200 Defence Personnel were involved in MIQ and yet the Napier Mayor told media this morning her requests for military assistance have been turned down. How can the government justify having the army available to stand at hotel doors but not out in a cyclone ravaged community?

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

“More than 600 Police were sent to the Parliament protest and yet only 100 have been sent to Hawke’s Bay.

“Meanwhile, Nash has asked gang leaders to pull their members into line. He needs to stop treating gang leaders like equals. They are not legitimate organisations. Instead of asking the gangs to be good, the message should be that anyone who loots will be locked up, including the entire Mongrel Mob if necessary.

“Police Commissioner Andy Coster showed incredible insensitivity when he told media this morning that “dishonesty offences are down overall.” Crime hits people that much harder when they’ve lost their homes, they’re missing relatives, they’ve been through a trauma and are in shock in the midst of a disaster. People don’t need statistics; they need to see a Police and military presence.

“Police who are on the ground, are doing an incredible job, but they need more resources.

“It’s time for Nash and Little to mobilise the Police and Defence Force. A presence in the worst affected areas would make a huge difference to communities that are suffering. They are exhausted and they shouldn’t have to be up all night manning their own checkpoints.”

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