ZB

Poto Williams grants Mark Mitchell a meeting with Police Commissioner

Author
Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 May 2022, 9:05am

Poto Williams grants Mark Mitchell a meeting with Police Commissioner

Author
Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 May 2022, 9:05am

Police Minister Poto Williams has given the National Party's Mark Mitchell a Budget week olive branch by giving him permission to meet Police Commissioner Andrew Coster.

Mitchell said this morning that Coster has also agreed to a meeting and he expected that to take place in about three weeks' time.

Williams had withheld her approval for Mitchell to meet Coster and Police district commanders after Mitchell asked earlier in the year. When asked why, Williams had said it was because Police were "busy".

The request was granted after a further approach by Mitchell.

It could be an interesting meeting – Mitchell, a former police officer, has been openly critical of Coster's "policing by consent" approach and measures such as changes to the police pursuits policy.

Mitchell has said it effectively sent a signal to criminals and gang members that they will get away with their crimes and called on the Government to put in place harder line sentencing to try to address gang violence.

Williams has relented after ongoing skirmishes between the two about Williams' handling of the police portfolio in Parliament – and even spilled over into Parliament's café.

Mitchell had tweeted about an encounter in which he had sat down to speak to Labour MP Greg O'Connor about the parliamentary rugby team at a table which Williams was sitting at.

Mitchell had said he walked out after O'Connor bailed him up for the way Mitchell had been questioning Williams in Parliament and said O'Connor had said they needed to move tables away from Williams.

Williams is also understood to have raised an objection to Mitchell sitting at the table.

Last week Williams announced a $562m Budget package for Police, including to recruit more police and boost officer training to ensure more were trained to deal with firearms incidents.

The Government is also working on a package to help businesses contend with ram raids – details are expected in the next week or two.