NZ has lowest murder rate in 40 years, police boast, but 'disturbing' number of victims are children

New Zealand has its lowest murder rate in 40 years, according to official figures released today.

The new report details homicide statistics between 2007 and 2016 with provisional figures for 2017.

The 10-year period saw 686 homicides, including murder and manslaughter offences, with an average of 63 homicides a year between 2012 and 2016, dropping down from 74 between 2007 and 2011.

The rate is the lowest it’s been since the early 1970s and under half that of the rate in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

A graph showing the number of murders and manslaughters in New Zealand between 2007 and 2017.
A graph showing the number of murders and manslaughters in New Zealand between 2007 and 2017. Source: NZ Police/1 NEWS graphic

More than 96 per cent of homicide cases had been resolved, according to Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson, the National Manager of Criminal Investigations

Approximately a third of homicide victims were Māori, while 12 per cent of victims were children under the age of five.

The number of young children who were victims was disturbing, Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson said.

“These children represent the most vulnerable members of society, who are too often killed by the people whose job it is to keep them safe.”

Between 2007 and 2011, 63 people were killed by their current or ex-partner between 2007 and 2011, dropping to 52 between 2012 and 2016, with females making up 75 per cent of those victims.

Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson said police were continuing to work with partner agencies to help at-risk families.

“We know that family harm is a serious issue that affects people of all ages and across all parts of society," he said.

Additional information:

• Males represented 62% of all victims.

• The lowest annual homicide figure of 58 was in 2016, with provisional 2017 data even lower at 48.

• Around seven out of 10 homicides were murders.

• Of all family-linked homicide victims, 40 per cent were male and 60 per cent were female.

• Around 1 in 5 homicides was committed by a current or ex-partner – 75 per cent of victims were female.

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    Police say they’re committed to reducing numbers even further. Source: 1 NEWS