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Honeymoon Comes With Expiry Date

PM Luxon’s administration has been vocal about its commitment to cracking down on crime

Six months into the National-led government, there is a growing sense of frustration among the public regarding the persistent issues of crime and public safety. The recent assault and robbery at Pooja Jewellers in Papatoetoe have only heightened these concerns, leaving many wondering if the new government is overestimating its honeymoon period.

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Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s administration has been vocal about its commitment to cracking down on crime. However, as violent incidents continue to occur, the patience of the public is wearing thin. While it is true that legislative changes take time and their impacts are gradual, the expectation for perceptible improvements in law and order is immediate.

Luxon’s recent statement addressing the robbery at Pooja Jewellers underscores this point. The prime minister’s effort to connect with public sentiment and show that he is attuned to the pain and fear felt by citizens is a step in the right direction. But words alone are not enough. The public wants to see concrete actions and results that reflect the government’s promises.

Police Minister Mark Mitchell has been actively attending public meetings in recent weeks, where small business owners frequently ask why law and order hasn’t improved under his watch. His response has been consistent: the crime peak fueled by the previous Labour government wouldn’t abate overnight. This has been Mitchell’s go-to response so far, and one wonders how long he can continue to pin the blame on a government that has not been in charge for nearly half a year.

When asked if he had a timeline in mind for when his work will begin to show results, Mitchell told The Indian Weekender, “Well, I would have loved to fix [it] six months ago. The reality is, we are not going to turn it around overnight. It has taken six years to bake it in.” He highlighted that the previous government had prioritised reducing the prison population by 30 per cent and alternative actions where there were no consequences. 

Mitchell didn’t offer any commitments on the timeline but pointed out he has been trying to make sure the police are out on the streets and more visible. “[We are ensuring] they get back to basics…getting them out of some of the work they currently do so that they can work on their core role…so that when members of the public who put up their hand when they genuinely need it, they get the help they want.” Mitchell acknowledged that there’s a lot of work to do but noted that he has started to see some greenshoots. He pointed to Auckland CBD, where he claims crime is starting to reduce and statistics around violent crime are starting to trend downwards.


The National government is facing the challenge of balancing the long-term process of legislative reform with the immediate need for public reassurance. The danger lies in overestimating the goodwill afforded by their new-government status. Six months is a significant period, and the public’s expectation for visible change is both reasonable and pressing.

The government’s focus on blaming the previous Labour administration for the current crime wave, while not entirely unfounded, risks coming across as an excuse rather than a solution. The electorate voted for change, and they expect the new government to deliver on its promises swiftly and effectively.

It’s essential for Luxon’s administration to recognise that public perception is shaped by immediate experiences. High-profile incidents of crime create a sense of urgency that demands prompt and decisive action. Measures such as increased police presence, enhanced community policing, and swift judicial processes can provide the immediate impact needed to reassure the public while broader legislative changes take effect.

The prime minister’s engagement with the issue of crime and his commitment to addressing it are positive steps, but they must be backed by tangible actions that yield visible results. The government’s credibility hinges on its ability to deliver on its promises in a timely manner.

In politics, the honeymoon period is finite, and the National government’s time to make a lasting impression is slipping away. Luxon and his team must act now to demonstrate their effectiveness and responsiveness to public concerns. The window of opportunity is narrowing, and the stakes are high. For the National government, this is a pivotal moment to prove that their commitment to reducing crime is more than just rhetoric—it’s a promise they intend to keep.

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