The Threats of Bob Harvey

  • Jack Elder

A recent edition of that highly respected piece of journalistic Kiwiana, The Listener, contained a piece of amateur dramatics by Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey.

Mr Harvey thundered and raged about a number of issues, but appeared primarily concerned about Police numbers and the fact that I was not Batman.

This I found a little bizarre, since I had never claimed to be Batman, but Mr Harvey has always tended to march to the beat of a different drummer.

However, on the matter of Police numbers, I thought Mr Harvey's demand that Police numbers be immediately restored to the 1995 level was worthy of investigation.

So, poring over Police human resources reports, I resolved to get to the bottom of the matter.

At first I could not fathom what Mr Harvey was on about. The average level of sworn Police staffing over 1995 was 6840.75 officers. A cursory glance at the latest report showed the current staff level was 6897.27 sworn officers.

I knew Mr Harvey would not stoop to making wild, unsubstantiated allegations, so I looked further. Then I saw the answer.

In July 1995, there was a spike in staff numbers to 6899 sworn staff. All became clear. Mr Harvey was demanding the extra 1.73 officers to match the 1995 peak.

I was devastated at first, but then I remembered there was a recruit intake of 80 in January, which will take the number of sworn staff well above the 1995 level.

In his Listener histrionics, Mr Harvey says a delegation of mayors will be coming to Wellington to meet the Prime Minister, express no confidence in me as Police Minister and insist on a return to the 1995 levels of Police staffing.

I do hope they have decided where they want the Police to be cut to get back down to that level.