Christopher Luxon speaks on Hamilton visit. Video / Mike Scott
National leader Christopher Luxon is speaking to media on the ground in Hamilton West, 10 days before the electorate’s MP is decided.
Luxon will likely appear alongside National’s candidate Tama Potaka, who is fighting for the seat against Labour’s Georgie Dansey, former Hamilton West MP Dr Gaurav Sharma, Act MP Dr James McDowall, The Opportunities Party’s Naomi Pocock and others.
It comes as Police Minister Chris Hipkins and Justice Minister Kiri Allan announce new powers for police to target fleeing drivers.
The powers include a 12-month increase to the maximum driver licence disqualification period for a second offence of failing to stop or remain stopped – from 12 months to between 12 and 24 months.
An amendment will also be made to the Sentencing Act 2002 so a vehicle can be forfeited on a conviction for failing to stop for police, meaning offenders can have their vehicle permanently removed and not get any proceeds from the sale.
Finally, police will be enabled to impound a vehicle for 28 days if the owner fails, refuses or provides false or misleading information about the identity of a fleeing driver.
Earlier this week, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster revealed police’s policy on pursuing fleeing drivers would change early next year to factor in the risk of future offending by those drivers.
Also earlier this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed $4 million of Government funding would be split between local councils in Auckland ($2m), Hamilton ($1m) and Bay of Plenty ($1m) to match council funding for local crime prevention measures such as street lighting, CCTV cameras and bollard-esque planter boxes.
It followed the death of 34-year-old dairy worker Janak Patel, who was fatally stabbed last week while he was managing the Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham, Auckland.
The tragedy led to protests across the country from dairy workers who said they felt unsafe, particularly in areas including Auckland and Waikato which had experienced spikes in crime.
In response, the Government will also subsidise the purchase and installation of fog cannons to the tune of $4000 for any shop owner who feels vulnerable – regardless of whether they have been previous victims of crime – something which had limited the application of crime prevention methods in the past.
The $6m Retail Crime Prevention fund – designed to support businesses hit by ram raids – will be expanded to include those who had experienced aggravated robberies.
Luxon and the National Party have been highly critical of the Government’s approach to crime, calling for harsher consequences for offenders.
That sentiment featured prominently in National’s own crime policy, which suggested the country’s most prolific offenders aged 15 to 17 should be placed in military academies to act as a “circuit-breaker” to prevent re-offending.