Sunny Kaushal is demanding real action from the Coalition Government after a fight on Saturday evening at another venue, spilled onto the streets and led to a serious assault outside the Shakespeare Public House on Albert Street.
“We don’t have a crime emergency, it’s a full-blown crime crisis and small businesses are sick of the hand wringing,” Mr Kaushal said.
“Crime is happening every minute of every day and its costing people their lives and livelihoods.
“Saturday’s fight, like the gang fight at Sylvia Park earlier this year, had nothing to do with the Shakespeare. It started in another venue, spilled onto the streets and came to a terrifying end just outside it. The first thoughts of the duty manager were to the safety of patrons and staff alike.
“That meant little in the way of Saturday night trade, a key trading day. It was lost showing how violence affects innocent businesses and the staff they employ.
“The challenge for the new government is to walk the pre-election talk and to do it at pace.
“Those of us at the bleeding edge aren’t seeing it. On the Saturday night TV news, another gang funeral had people hanging out of cars and vans, I thought would be dangerous driving. Police stood there and watched. Then I got a terrible call closer to home.
“A lot of crime in central Auckland can be blamed on a disease of orange cones and the Central Rail Tunnel Link fiasco that’s closed Albert Street since around 2017. That project sums up a lot with what’s gone wrong in NZ; years late, billions over budget but no one is accountable.
“The rail link and disjointed roadworks have created crime corridors. Retailers tell me shoplifting is so rampant that it’s a cost of business and Police aren’t interested. They should be. That’s the slippery slope that now sees beggars and homeless get more aggressive to feed their addictions.
“We genuinely appreciate the Coalition’s 500 extra police but that’s years away and frankly all 500 are needed by central Auckland let alone the rest of NZ, where things are just as bad,” Mr Kaushal said.
The Dairy and Business Owners’ Group has repeatedly called for:
- The use of AI-based CCTV and street lighting to ensure no CCTV blackspots and is capable of picking up antisocial sounds, automated tracking and operator alert;
- Using Police Authorised Officers for beat policing in central areas freeing up sworn officers for rapid response. Auckland Council can convert the money it spends on parking wardens and AT ‘Transport Officers’ to go into a JV with Police like they do in the UK;
- Reinstate begging and vagrancy to the Summary Offences Act so that beggars and homeless can be diverted to specialist residential centres to deal with multiple issues that have them on the streets;
- Amend the Crimes Act to define reasonable force in the defence of property and to repeal a stupid ‘daylight’ hours law that prevents citizens’ arrest during daylight. This will give retailers, security guards and Police Authorised Officers real powers to protect property and people.