Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins and Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy launched a petition opposing the merger of the Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt police districts last week. The pair met outside the Upper Hutt police station to be the first to put their signatures to the petition, which is being circulated around the community via email and can be downloaded from the internet.
“We hope that this petition will send a clear signal to the Wellington District Police Commander that Upper Hutt people will not tolerate any merger. We do not want to see our police station downgraded and we want to ensure that Upper Hutt gets its fair share of the extra police that the new National government have promised,” Chris Hipkins said.
A website has been launched containing information about the merger proposal: www.nopolicecuts.co.nz. The website contains news clippings from the Upper Hutt Leader, media statements issued by those opposing the merger, and a downloadable copy of the petition form.
Chris Hipkins has also raised the issue in parliament and said he would continue to do so until the proposal was abandoned. Speaking in a parliamentary debate on law and order legislation, Mr Hipkins made it very clear that the Police would face strong resistance if they compromised Upper Hutt community safety in the name of efficiency.
“I want to know how National thinks that stripping policing resources out of Upper Hutt to send them to South Auckland will help the police with situations like that in Pomare. The government wants to take police out of Upper Hutt – to remove police without telling the community about it. The only way the community found out about that was because somebody in the police leaked it,” Mr Hipkins told parliament.
“Is it not an outrage that this government, which promised to increase police numbers, wants to take police away from Upper Hutt? Is it not interesting that National wants to lock up more people in the Rimutaka prison and strip the police resources out of Upper Hutt at the same time?
“I can tell the House that the people of Upper Hutt will not stand for that. The people of Upper Hutt will not stand by while the National government steals their police resources to send to other parts of the country,” Mr Hipkins said.
Mr Hipkins and Mr Guppy are intending to organise a public meeting so that the community can learn more about the proposal. They will be inviting the Police Commissioner as well as the District Commander. Further details will be provided as soon as they have been confirmed.