Across the Ditch: New Zealand Crime Rates Worsen + AllBlacks Wallabies Rivalry Turns Septic

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Across the Ditch: Australian radio FiveAA.com.au’s Peter Godfrey and EveningReport.nz’s Selwyn Manning deliver their weekly bulletin Across the Ditch. This week, New Zealand’s crime statistics are out and show a marked deterioration, increases in burglaries and robberies. Also, the Trans-Tasman rivalry between the All Blacks and the Wallabies has turned septic.

First up: Weather comparison and the Headlines Roundup.

ITEM ONE: New Zealand Crime Rate Worsens:

After a winter of record homelessness and hiking house prices, New Zealand’s burglary rate has also increased.

Across the nation, Statistics New Zealand reported yesterday burglaries increased by 11.9% in the twelve months to July.

And the negative trend has been deteriorating for some time. The latest statistics show burglaries up 29% over a two year period with robberies are up 44% and assaults have increased by 10%.

The New Zealand Police Association puts this down to fewer police officers.

Its president, Greg O’Connor, said yesterday “While many offence types can fluctuate, burglary figures tend to be a very good litmus test of how much criminal activity is taking place in the community.”

He added: “What is clear is that the public are now becoming concerned that the crime situation is deteriorating, an inevitability after many years of under-investment.
“We are now seeing political parties, including the government, accepting there is a need to increase police numbers. But it cannot wait for an election – this government must find the money now to increase police numbers across the board so that community concerns about crime can be addressed.”

Labour leader Andrew Little said: ““John Key has broken his own 2008 election promise to have one police officer for every 500 people. There is now one police officer to every 526 people.

“Police are desperately under-resourced and have been told there will be no staffing increases until 2020.

“It’s unsurprising the regions are experiencing massive crime hikes with Rotorua burglaries up 66%, and up 100% in the Hutt Valley.”

The National-led Government’s Minister of Police Judith ‘Crusher’ Collins said the Government would have more police recruits soon so that the Police could attend all burglary complaints.

ITEM TWO – All Blacks Wallabies Rivalry Turns Septic:

The All Blacks and Wallabies Trans-Tasman rivalry has become rather septic since last Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup test in Wellington. The All Blacks beat the Wallabies 29-9, following a first test win of 42-9.

During the second test in Wellington, the Wallabies played a hard up-front and physical game, receiving a number of controversial penalties and a yellow card. It led to accusations that the referee was biased in favour of the All Blacks. There was also an alleged eye gauging by an All Black player on a Wallaby. At one point, a Wallaby pulled the boot off an All Black and through it off the field.

The tension spilled over into the aftergame period with the Wallaby coach accusing the All Black couch of having met with the referee before the game and without his Wallaby counterpart present. The allegation was denied.

Former Wallaby great Peter FitzSimons said on Radio New Zealand this week, that the allegations of referee bias were ridiculous and the debate should be focused on improving basic skills that in his day were drummed into players at club level.

It seems fortunate that the third test between Australia and New Zealand is scheduled to be played in over a month’s time.

Across the Ditch broadcasts live each week on FiveAA.com.au and webcasts on EveningReport.nz, LiveNews.co.nz, and ForeignAffairs.co.nz.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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