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Stop Blaming Previous Govt; Take Action Now

The rampant rise in violent retail crimes, particularly ram raids, that has created a climate of
fear and uncertainty over the past three or so years, continues unabated. This alarming
trend is coupled with skyrocketing insurance premiums and expenditure on physical safety
measures, making it increasingly difficult for small business owners to sustain their


Six months into his tenure as Police Minister, Mark Mitchell continues to face mounting
public dissatisfaction over the state of law and order. At various public meetings, business
owners have voiced their concerns and frustrations, asking the same pressing question:
Why hasn’t the crime situation improved under his watch?

Minister Mitchell’s response has been consistent, if not predictable. He attributes the
current crime peak to the policies of the previous Labour government, saying that such
issues cannot be resolved overnight. “We’re not going to fix it in a few weeks. We are
putting in place stronger legislative measures that we hope will eventually reduce crime,”
he was quoted as saying during a recent meeting with retail shop owners in Manurewa, a
suburb in southern Auckland.

This narrative has been Mitchell’s shield against criticism, but it raises a critical question:
How long can he and his government continue to pin the blame on a previous government
that has been out of power for over half a year? When asked about a timeline for visible
results from his policies, Mitchell’s response was notably vague. “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 told The Indian Weekender.

While it is true that systemic issues cannot be resolved instantaneously, continuous
deflection of responsibility is not a sustainable or acceptable strategy. The public, especially
those directly affected by the surge in retail crimes, deserve more concrete answers and
actionable plans. Mitchell’s assertion that the previous government’s focus on reducing the
prison population by 30 per cent and favouring alternative actions has exacerbated the
crime situation may hold some truth. However, leadership demands accountability and
proactive measures, not just retrospective critiques.

Mitchell has been at pains to say his efforts to ensure that police presence is more
pronounced and that officers are focusing on their core duties. “[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,” he explained.

While these initiatives are commendable, they are part of a long-term strategy that requires
time to bear fruit. In the interim, small business owners continue to grapple with the
immediate threats to their safety and livelihood. Although Mitchell pointed to
“greenshoots” indicating a downward trend in crime statistics, the lived experiences of
many in our community tell a different story.

Recent government data shows a significant drop in ram raids, with 12 incidents reported in
April 2024 compared to 64 in April 2023. The overall trend since the peak in August 2022,
when there were 86 ram raids, suggests some improvement. Yet, the total number of 433
ram raids in 2022 and 288 in 2023 still paints a grim picture of the pervasive threat that
retailers face.

Mitchell’s acknowledgment that “there’s a lot of work to do” is an understatement. For the
business owners who face the daily threat of violent crimes, the assurance that crime rates

are starting to trend down is little comfort. They need more immediate and tangible support
measures, such as increased police patrols, quicker response times, and perhaps financial
assistance for improved security infrastructure.

The government, voted into power on strong promises to tackle crime, must now deliver on
those promises. The time for blaming predecessors is over. The focus should now be on
swift, effective actions that provide relief and security to those who are most vulnerable.

The Indian Weekender will continue to hold those in power accountable, amplifying the voices of our community and advocating for the protection and prosperity of our small business owners.

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