Labour Party Leader Jacinda Ardern does not agree with the perception, and not an entirely erroneous perception altogether that the Party is soft-pedalling on crime and Law and Order issue.
Speaking to The Indian Weekender exclusively, Ms Ardern said: “I would not agree with that perception.”
“Our first and foremost focus is making sure that we prevent victim and we support victims.
“But actually what we need to focus is how do we make sure that we are responding to what the community is asking for.
“My father was a policeman and I have grown up with the view that if we have a well supported Police in the community, then it will make the difference.
“When I say in the community it means opening back those police-hubs in the community who know [local] families, the business owners and communities.
‘That way we can improve the response time and the community intelligence and make the difference,” Ms Ardern said.
“When we talk about the increase in police numbers then it is not just same as the government is talking about.
"We want those police officers back in our communities,” Ms Ardern emphasised.
The question of the need for tougher penalties to deter offenders, particularly youth offenders, which is largely at the centre of a prevailing perception about soft pedalling on crime, was dealt by Ms Ardern with a reasonable aplomb signifying the critical role that “personality” can play in this election.
Political commentators are already debating about what is more important in this election - personality or policies.
While both have its own merits, however sometimes pull of the leader’s personality can make difficult policies appear more palpable, or at least less -disagreeable to the target audience.
The question of tough penalties on perpetrators of aggravated assault on small business owners and members of Kiwi-Indian community is one such question.
“I want to do what works.
“I want to make sure what will stop someone from going and committing such crimes,” Ms Ardern said.
“I don’t agree with the fact that keeping young ones away for one year [referring to military style boot camps announced by National Party] and then allowing them to go back in the same dysfunctional environment would make any difference,” Ms Ardern further said.
“We really want to run some good programs which can look into the root cause [of offending].
“Yes we often end up working with these offenders bit longer, but we also work with their families.
“That’s the big thing that makes the difference,” Ms Ardern asserted.
“But I will also say that we will never change the fact that for serious offending a young person should end up in the district courts.
“The power that judges have at the moment should keep that power.
“We need to make sure that we match the offence with the crime and the punishments,” Ms Ardern said.
However, it will be interesting to see if Jacinda effect would have a desirable impact on the perception in some section of the Kiwi-Indian community and other ethnic communities, about Labour's soft pedalling on crime.