Police minister grants opposition chance to meet Commissioner

National’s Mark Mitchell will meet with Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, in his second attempt to meet Coster after initially being denied the opportunity by Police Minister Poto Williams.

Earlier this year, Mitchell asked to meet senior members of police along with the Commissioner but says Williams responded by telling him there was "no specific need" for a meeting.

Mitchell, a former police officer of 14 years, told 1News he had been "very critical of the of the way she has been leading the portfolio".

Simeon Brown, who held the portfolio between October 2020 and December 2021, told 1News he had "never had a problem" with being granted permission to meet the Commissioner.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told Q+A he is “incredibly proud” of how they conducted themselves.

William's office confirmed the meeting was agreed but said "each request by members of Parliament to meet with police leadership is considered by the Minister on a case-by-case basis".

The agreement came ahead of Williams addressing Mitchell in the General Debate session in the House on Wednesday.

"You know I like Mr Mitchell, he's a very personable man, you know he's got a great personality. It's unfortunate that he can't add up to three...and I just want to help him," she said.

She said her pre-budget announcement on May 8 of $562 million was "a little bit more than three and quite a lot to count up Mr Mitchell... but I can help you out with this".

Williams was referring to Mitchell asking the Speaker for another supplementary question after having used his three in Question Time.

"That is a record investment in police. We have delivered 35% more funding in our time as Government, than those guys," she said pointing to National.

"We have delivered 16% more cops on our side than those guys did. And all of that, Mr Speaker, with us adding funding to make sure we've got $94 million not just to deal with gangs but to suppress and enforce.

"And also to deal with those young people that we can divert out of the gang culture in the first place.

"We are delivering for New Zealand," Williams said.

She said it was a "stark contrast" to National's record in police investment when they were in Government.

In June 2010 they had 8,768 cops and by the following year lost 70 cops.

The following year, she said there were 9,000 police and in June 2013 there were 8,701.

Williams listed Labour's investment in police saying National's tax cuts would only fund police cuts.

She said National's record shows they are "hopeless".

"They are hopeless, hopeless, they freeze budgets and they cut police numbers.

"They are absolutely hopeless."

Williams said next week there would be an announcement on how Labour will deliver support to the businesses of New Zealand over the spate of ram-raids across the country.