Plans to keep seven rural police stations open 24/7 have been quietly shelved, with Police Minister Stuart Nash saying he trusts police to know where best to put resources.
However, the National Party and locals are unimpressed with the move.
Balclutha police station was one of the police stations set to extend its opening hours this year, with its mayor, Bryan Cadogan, saying, "We're really furious that it isn't. The simple fact is, in the last couple of years, criminality has ramped up".
As well as Balclutha, 1 NEWS can now reveal that Wellsford, Helensville, rural Tasman, rural Southland, Wanaka and Alexandra will also be left without 24/7 police coverage.
They were among 20 extra stations set to get around the clock staffing under policy introduced by the previous government.
National MP Chris Bishop said of the move, "My sense is the mayors and communities around the country are going to be ropeable over this".
"It was an extremely popular target and an extremely popular policy to upgrade these stations."
In a statement, police said that the 20 stations initially earmarked for 24/7 coverage will still see an increase in police numbers in an effort to give the districts more flexibility.
Mr Nash said of the scrapped plans, "It's my view as the minister it's not my position to tell police how to deploy their resources".
Mr Bishop, however, believes the shelving of the old policy "will make New Zealanders less safe".
Three 24/7 stations have gone ahead, including one in Kaitaia.
Other police stations, such as Waipukurau, have gone to what is known as 24/7 demand, in which each police district can decide when and where officers are most needed based on demand.
"6000sq km and for six hours a day - there's no policing. Guess when the tinnie houses open?" Mr Cadogan said.