Press release: NZ First

Darroch Ball’s Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill, which toughens penalties for assaults on first responders and corrections officers, passed its first reading in Parliament this week.

Every year, thousands of police, ambulance and corrections officers are assaulted. And it’s increasing.

In August 2019 alone, there were over 200 assaults on St John Ambulance staff.

Our first responders operate in high-risk, urgent and potentially life-threatening situations. New Zealand First believes it is our responsibility to ensure they are safe when doing their job.

We need stronger deterrence.

That’s why we want to introduce a 6-month minimum mandatory sentence for those who assault ambulance staff, police, firefighters and corrections officers.

That sentence will be cumulative, meaning it will add to any existing sentence an offender is serving.

We’ve been humbled by the positive response the bill has received from our first responders and corrections officers, and thanks to the unanimous support of Parliament, the bill will now proceed to select committee.