National Party leader Simon Bridges has called out the Government for being "soft on crime", despite the Government's own tracking suggesting that victim numbers in New Zealand are decreasing.
There's been an increase in serious criminal activity throughout the country, Mr Bridges said today on TVNZ1's Breakfast. There are more criminals getting away with gang-related crime, shootings and drug offences, he suggested.
"It's pretty concerning," he said. "What we've seen since the election is a 25 per cent increase in serious harm cases in our courts - that does mean crime is definitely going up.
"Frankly, just as a dad and a husband, I say that is plain wrong."
The police statistics for 2018 showed the drop in victimisations involved 1393 fewer crimes against a person and 5847 fewer crimes against property. There were 4706 fewer burglaries and 570 fewer robberies, Police Minister Stuart Nash said in February.
But Mr Bridges said today there have been reports of more gang tensions, increased meth and other drug offences and an uptick in shootings - including a homocide case in South Auckland at the weekend.
"I think the Aussie situation - we've had Aussie criminals come in - is part of it, but I also think it's a Government that is soft on crime. They're happy to see fewer in prisons, several hundred fewer, but the problem with that is when you've got more crime, it does make our streets less safe.
"Frankly, for serious cases I think we do need to be tougher on crime, we need to put victims at the heart of our system."
Overall, the Government says tracking of victims numbers decreased by 2.7 per cent in 2018.
But Mr Bridges said "that's got to be nonesense".
"The reality is, their own Ministry of Justice in the last month has come out and said that crime unreported is up 77 per cent, right, so 10, 15 per cent more than it was. So crimes aren't even being reported."