17 Oct 2019

Govt told it's breaking promise if it doesn't count attrition in police staff target

6:40 am on 17 October 2019

The Police Association says Police Minister Stuart Nash will be breaking his promise if he doesn't include staff turnover in the government's police staffing target.

Police Minister Stuart Nash

Police Minister Stuart Nash Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Up until yesterday Mr Nash said the government was striving for 1800 additional police staff.

So far there have been almost 1700 new recruits, meaning there are about 892 additional staff once attrition rates are accounted for.

Speaking at the Police Association conference on Tuesday, Mr Nash was clear as to what 1800 officers meant.

"That's 1800 more police over and above the current rate, not 1800 more graduates, 1800 more police, as well as 475 more non-sworn staff," he said.

But yesterday during Parliament's Question Time, Mr Nash told Winston Peters the number was for 1800 new staff and they were going to meet that number soon.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said he would be breaking his promise if that was true.

"We've been promised 1800 extra police officers, everyone is very clear of that and I challenge people to go back and listen to what has been said by politicians previously and come up with any other interpretations," he said.

Mr Cahill said he was just hoping that there had been some confusion because the association and police were very clear on what has been promised.

But New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters, whose party negotiated for 1800 extra staff in the coalition agreement, insisted that never meant increasing the overall number of police by that number.

"We didn't say 1800 new police net, did we?" he said.

But net or gross National's police spokesperson Brett Hudson said the police minister can't deliver on either.

"The minister knows he can't possibly get there before the end of the parliamentary term, but he either breaks the promise by not delivering it at the end of the term, or he breaks the promise by following through with this giant shift in the goal posts and try and claim a completely different target," he said.

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