As part of its â€˜New Zealand sucks’ campaign, National is on its high horse over an international survey that shows New Zealand’s crime victimisation rate is one of the higher ones in a group of 30 developed countries.
Comparing crime levels across countries is bloody hard because of different laws, reporting practices, and reporting rates (both to Police and surveyors). This survey makes a good crack at it but does only include 10 categories of crime, and ignores corporate offending all together. And, it is only a survey; fewer than a thousand New Zealanders participated, so this is no substitute for official recorded crime data. And, the data is from 2003-04.
So, with those caveats in mind, what does the survey say? It says in 2003-04 New Zealand survey participants reported a higher rate of victimisation (21.5 out of 100) than other developed countries, like the US Sweden, Germany, France, and Australia, and a lower victimisation rate than Ireland, England, and Wales. The lowest rate was reported in Sweden, with 16.1 and the highest in Ireland with 21.8, a variation of 5.7 crimes per 100 people. (date here, pgs 43 and 238-240).
It also says victimisation had decreased 16.3% between 1991 (the only other year New Zealand participated in the survey) and 2003-04. Based on official crime stats, crime has dropped another 5.9% since then. There is certainly work to do, and it would be good for New Zealand’s crime rate to keep falling but National is simply playing politics and trying to make the situation look worse than it is.
What is National’s crime policy anyway? They opposed the new prisions and the addition of 1000 new police. And remember what happened last time they were in?