It should be an offence for political parties to deliberately misrepresent law and order statistics. It should be an aggravating feature if the party is a conservative party that champions law and order issues. After all fraud is an offence and if we don’t punish it appropriately then everyone will do it. Or so the deterrence theory goes.
David Fisher in the Herald has this blistering take down of National’s latest law and order advertisements. It is behind the paywall which is unfortunate because it deserves greater readership.
The first thing he notes from the advertisement is the phrase “and the police have said ‘arrest is now the exception'”. The police did say that. In 2010 when a policy to deal with some low level offending by Iwi panels was introduced. When Judith was Minister of Police. And as Minister of Justice in 2016 she reviewed the pilot and ordered that it be rolled out throughout the country. How could she have made such a simple mistake in saying that a policy introduced by National was Labour’s policy?
The second criticism of National’s attacks were the use of gang numbers. I am sure that everyone is aware of National claims that gang numbers have surged under Labour’s reign.
Fisher’s articule says that the figures themselves are dubious because:
It is a surveillance tool and not a census. But don’t expect to see any acknowledgement from National any time soon.
The third aspect that Fisher addressed was the number of serious assaults resulting in injury had doubled between 2017 and 2020. The reason? Definition changes had put more offences into this category. Overall the number of victimisations have remained stable.
Don’t expect the quality of this debate to improve any time soon. And any time National makes a claim about crime check the background.