The Salvation Army says there's no logic to increasing police numbers and building more prisons, because there's no evidence to suggest crime is actually on the rise.
In its latest State of the Nation report, the Salvation Army says the prison population is expected to hit a record high of 10,000 inmates this year.
That's despite the fact overall crime rates have remained much the same.
It argues better policies are needed rather than political rhetoric about increasing police numbers and building more prisons.
Prime Minister Bill English announced a boost in police numbers in his first major speech of the year, putting law and order firmly on the political agenda for election year.
Last year the government announced $1 billion of funding for 1800 new prison beds.
The Labour Party is also talking tough on crime, promising to increase police numbers if it ends up in power.
But Salvation Army senior policy analyst and report author Alan Johnson says the political rhetoric does not match the reality.