2 Sep 2009

Government won't close police stations, says PM

11:16 pm on 2 September 2009

The Government says it has no intention of closing police stations.

The opposition Labour Party has released a government document obtained under the Official Information Act suggesting areas of potential savings for police.

The Cabinet paper to Police Minister Judith Collins suggests cuts to police budgets as part of a line-by-line review of costs. It identifies areas of potential savings, including the rationalisation of police housing and station numbers.

Dated February this year, the document says the exercise will require significant effort and has the potential to be extremely disruptive if not carefully managed.

Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove says the decision follows a request by Ms Collins to cut $21 million and 340 cars from the police budget.

Prime Minister John Key on Wednesday dismissed a suggestion that police stations would be sold, saying the Government was opening, not closing, police stations.

Mr Key says the Government is committed to protecting the safety and security of New Zealanders and that is why it has increased the police's budget.

However, he says the public are also entitled to expect value for money and that is the reason the police undertook a review.

Mr Key says the issue of selling police housing is a matter for the police to decide and it would not affect the public.

Police reviewing properties

The police have 600 buildings, including storage facilities and houses, and 380 stations.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, police say there is no list of stations scheduled for closure, but they have not ruled out changes for some buildings.

Police are reviewing their property portfolio and there may be some change in the use of these buildings as a result.

However, they say no stations or any other property is scheduled for closure.