29 Aug 2016

PM reassures Chinese community over crime

8:23 pm on 29 August 2016

An open letter from Prime Minister John Key has been published in Chinese media in New Zealand, reassuring people who are concerned about crime levels.

Prime Minister John Key.

Prime Minister John Key Photo: RNZ

Mr Key said he wrote a weekly column for about 30 Korean, Indian and Chinese media outlets, and this week Chinese media asked for that column to be presented as a open letter.

The letter assured people the police were treating burglary as a high priority and that despite a recent "upturn in burglaries" the crime rate was "still at near historic lows".

At his post-Cabinet news conference today, Mr Key said some people in the Chinese community believed they had been targeted.

"I don't think they are but the one thing I wanted to do was reassure them ... that we take the issue seriously."

Many small businesses owners had a lot of direct contact with the public, Mr Key said.

"And so they do see a degree of crime and it's always an issue they're concerned about. If you go and talk to ethnic communities, by and large, that's one issue that generally gets raised."

And he said there had been "a little bit of discussion within the community about taking the law into their own hands".

"Basically arming themselves, and I think we're certainly trying to give them reassurance that's not a good thing to do, that really they should leave that in the hands of the police."

Mr Key said he did not believe the debate around housing and immigration was impacting on how vulnerable people in New Zealand's ethnic communities were feeling.

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