Crime figures a boost for National

With the general election less than six months away, the latest crime statistics, released yesterday, will provide a boost for National.

Figures released by Statistics New Zealand showed 15,602 fewer crimes were recorded in 2013 than in 2012. Taking into account population growth of 0.9 per cent it meant offending per head dropped by 5 per cent.

That, say police, creates the lowest crime figure in 29 years.

Unfortunately the Central Police District, which groups the Manawatu/Whanganui region with Taranaki and Hawke's Bay, was one of three districts to report an increase in crime.

Crime was up by 1.6 per cent in the Central District, with a total of 28,006 offences recorded this year, compared with 27,575 last year.

There's not a lot of ground Labour can make off of these statistics, with the party responding by calling an increase in the number of sexual assaults, murders and property-based crime a concern for New Zealanders.

The party's police spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern said police were being forced to do more with less, which hampered their crime prevention work.

Bizarrely, NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor tried to argue there was no reliable evidence from the Government that crime had decreased in New Zealand or that there are fewer people breaking the law.

"At the same time as Ms Tolley claimed there was less crime in New Zealand, the police released new statistics that showed recorded crime in Northland had increased to 15,588 offences - that's over 40 crimes a day," she said.

It's still good news for National though as it can now tout the overall figures during the election campaign as evidence the Government is getting law and order policy right.

After all, voters in general like to see politicians being tough on crime.

Yesterday's announcement that three members of Food HQ were among the five institutes in the Government's first national science challenge to receive funding is good news for Palmerston North.

The organisations - AgResearch, Massey University and Plant and Food Research - will get a share of an extra $80 million in research grants over the next 10 years.

The news should be celebrated as it helps cement Palmerston North's location as the home of food research in New Zealand.

Manawatu Standard