In unusual move, National’s Simon Bridges comes out swinging at NZ’s 'woke' top cop

The Police Minister has described Simon Bridges' recent comments about the Police Commissioner as "hugely disrespectful and irresponsible", after the National MP described Andrew Coster as a 'wokester Commissioner'.

When asked this morning why he called Coster a "wokester Commissioner", Bridges replied, "because he is". 

"There's a bunch of things he's done where he's wanting to put the nice variety of things ahead of the law of the land and catching criminals. 

"I don't want to go too much into it because we've got him in our committee on justice on Thursday."

Asked what a 'wokester Commissioner' meant, Bridges said he was "not going to do all that stuff" and said media could attend the committee on Thursday to "get a real good sense of it". 

He said the annual report showed the police force was "much less about arrest, much less about catching gangs and criminals despite huge problems in our society, and much more about being hip". 

Police Minister Poto Williams called Bridges' comments "hugely disrespectful and irresponsible". 

"He's out of message with the way the rest of New Zealand feel about the police force and the work that they do, working hard to keep us all safe." 

"Policing by consent means working with the community to build sustainable change. The work they do is frontline and needs to be backed up by community responses and support."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was a "very strange departure from the convention we've had, which is to acknowledge the constabulary of the police".

"I don't know what has happened to warrant that criticism and I don't think it's fair."

The spat kicked off last week after the police announced it was starting a nationwide crackdown on guns held by gangs and organised crime groups.

Sharing a story about the operation on Twitter, Bridges wrote: "With this softly softly approach from our wokester commissioner, expect gang and gun violence to continue to worsen."

1 NEWS asked Coster about this on Friday.

"It's not appropriate for me to comment on that," Coster said, "but what I can say is I'm committed to doing the things that make the biggest difference to make communities actually safer".

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, 'Woke' is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness.