“Poto Williams today learnt a harsh lesson in being across the detail of her portfolio, attempting to brag about increases in police numbers in Parliament without realising only four new recruits had been added last month,” says ACT’s Police spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Poto was happy to answer patsy questions from a Labour backbencher, but when the reality of her failings in the Police portfolio were raised by the Opposition the smile was wiped off her face.

“It’s incredible that the Minister can stand up there and brag so openly about something that has been a complete disaster. The Police Association’s Police News magazine for May 2022 shows that only four officers were added to the force last month and we’re well short of the 1,800 Labour promised in 2017.

“New Zealanders are tired of politicians making promises they can’t keep and they’re tired of politics being played with important issues like community safety and ensuring we have thriving communities.

“While Ministers try and fudge the numbers, crime on our streets has exploded, and gangs are recruiting faster than Police.

“There are shootings, reports of gang crime and ram raids most days. People don’t feel safe in our communities.

“The Government needs to sort out its priorities and start focusing on the safety of the public and police officers.

“ACT says we should take the politics out of policing and increase the numbers of cops in line with population growth. This would ensure we always have the right ratio of Police and political parties will no longer be able to treat Police numbers like a political football.”