9 months ago

The Star: May 04, 2017

14 Thursday

14 Thursday May 4 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi The Star News Building relationships with the people •From page 13 Two weeks ago, a policeman knocked on her door. After 35 years living in the community, she had learnt that usually meant nothing good – a search for someone, a crime committed, or a tragedy in the neighbourhood. But this was different. She said the policeman was friendly, introduced himself and asked about her thoughts on the neighbourhood and what the police could do better in it. She said the relationship with police had been rocky for a long time in Aranui, but she hoped that would change. “It’s good to have them around, for our youth. And they’re doing really well, you’ve got to hand it to them,” she said. The Star spoke to residents around the park, and all but one had spoken directly with someone from the policing team. Almost all the comments were positive. Some had played a community v police rugby game – where the police were apparently thoroughly thrashed, but earnt a lot of respect anyway. The policing team manned the barbecue at local events, and walked local children to school in the mornings. They also patrol differently – they now ride around the community on cycles, instead of in cars, to appear less threatening. Policing team leader Sergeant Toni Carroll said they were trying to do things differently. “We’re trying to get rid of that perception that if they see police it’s a bad thing,” she said. By the numbers, the results are not looking good. The crime rate in Aranui has risen over the months the team has been working. In the first three months of this year, there were 73 crimes in Aranui reported to the police, up from 58 at the same time the year before. But Sergeant Carroll said this was expected. Because they were building more trust in police, more people would feel confident in reporting crimes, she said. “When we were surveying around Wainoni Park, people were telling us teens were often misusing the park, yelling and screaming at all hours and breaking glass. We said: ‘Did you ring the police?’ None of them had. But the next weekend we got four calls about disorder at the park,” she said. She said the teenagers had scattered by the time a police car arrived. But the policing team was still able to make sure the glass was cleaned up, and was working with the city council to improve lighting and trim bushes where it was happening, she said. Of the crimes recorded this year, 43 were burglaries, and 10 thefts. Seven were assaults, and COMMUNITY: A-Town Boxing Gym owner Jamie Roberts, pictured with his boxing “family”, said the new policing team had treated them with respect. Left – Constables Brad Hagerty, Jules Atkinson and Pete Evans patrol the streets of Aranui on cycles, in an effort to be more approachable. 13 were illegal use of a motor vehicle. Rather than decide themselves what issues to focus on, the policing team has been surveying residents, asking what was important to them. Sergeant Carroll said they had visited about 1400 homes so far, about 90 per cent of the houses in the area. Common issues had emerged. Many residents were worried about the young people hanging out in groups at the shops or the park and getting into trouble, and hoped the police could get alongside them, she said. While they are trying to build a positive relationship with the community, she said it would not stop them coming down hard on crime. But helping someone who had committed a crime turn their life around could be easier when they already had a good relationship with police, she said. “We don’t want to ruin their lives by arresting them. We want to stop them offending, so they have better opportunities as they grow older,” she said. A-Town Boxing Gym owner Jamie Roberts described himself as “a little bit rough around the edges”, with most interactions with police in his past on the wrong side of the law. But he said the police had treated him with respect, even working alongside him on a new project in schools, teaching children control, responsibility and respect through boxing skills. He said people in Aranui were suspicious of newcomers, and it had taken him more than a year to be accepted when he moved to the community about 20 years ago. But the police had already won over many people, he said. “They’re not coming out and asking for our names and date of birth. Instead they’re asking our names and how they can help,” he said. Mr Roberts bumped into one of the officers on the team picking up rubbish in the park one morning. He was also impressed by the reaction he saw police officers receive at Haeata school recently. “The kids were coming up and saying morning officer, and shaking their hands. It was pretty cool,” he said. Sergeant Carroll said the local children had been quiet and reserved around the team at the beginning, but over time they were warming. “There are still some hard core ones who won’t say hi, but you can tell that even they want to, now. We’ll keep going until they say hi,” she said.

The Star 15 News Latest Christchurch news at www. Can Wagner rise to the challenge? .kiwi Thursday May 4 2017 New rebuild boss Nicky Wagner has been dubbed the “personable politician”. But has she got the goods to finish the job that Gerry Brownlee started? Bridget Rutherford reports IT WOULD be hard to find two more different political personalities. Within minutes of speaking to National Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner (right), you know she’s a glass-half-full kind of person. The former schoolteacher turned businesswoman and Environment Canterbury councillor, is popular and personable with her “grass roots” attitude to politics. She clawed her way to win the Christchurch Central seat in 2011, through hard yakka, and pounding the pavements. Christchurch’s future clearly excites her. Former rebuild boss and now Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee, on the other hand, was a different type of politician. He’s not afraid to be critical – and then sometimes having to apologise. Infamously, he called former Mayor Bob Parker a “clown.” He later phoned Parker to mend fences. He said in 2012 some landowners after the earthquake were “carping and moaning” about their situation. During his six-year tenure Gerry Brownlee overseeing the city’s rebuild, he’s been accused of not communicating and failing to listen. But many say he had a role too big for one person. It’s been more than a week since Prime Minister Bill English announced Mrs Wagner would take over Mr Brownlee’s role as Minister Supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration. Already she’s copped flak. Critics say at number 22 on National’s list, she will be powerless because she is not a Cabinet Minister, and therefore the Government was walking away from Christchurch. Former mayor Garry Moore said Mrs Wagner had been given a “poisoned chalice” because everything was in place. “Being outside Cabinet will mean Wagner will have to sit, Lazarus-like, in the hall outside the Cabinet meeting room hoping that she will be able to influence the way things are being managed in Christchurch. “Cabinet decisions will be passed out the door to her as a recipient, just like most of us in Christchurch have experienced for years.” By comparison Labour MP Megan Woods, who has the Christchurch issues portfolio, is number five on her party’s list. But Mrs Wagner said whenever a decision about Christchurch was made in Cabinet, she would be there. It also meant she would have an extra day each week to be in Christchurch, she said. But Canterbury University political science associate professor Bronwyn Hayward said Mrs Wagner would have more resources and support if she was a Cabinet Minister. “I think it is a concern that the Government does not see the need to sustain the focus on Christchurch or why even they ‘Being outside Cabinet will mean Nicky Wagner will have to sit, Lazarus-like, in the hall outside the Cabinet meeting room hoping that she will be able to influence the way things are being managed in Christchurch.’ – Garry Moore, former mayor need MPs like Wagner in their inner circle.” She said Mr Brownlee was not the “right personality” for the city and Mrs Wagner had the ability to restore relationships – but it might be too late. “He [Brownlee]. . . tended to work with a fairly narrow community of loyal supporters and similar interests.” She said Mr Brownlee had a large workload, and perhaps was asked to perform the role for too long. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER He was a “polarising figure” who exacerbated anger and frustration, she said. In comparison, Mrs Wagner was popular and personable, she said. Mrs Wagner said she wants to keep the ball rolling, and build on the “tough” decisions Mr Brownlee had made and “copped flack” for, including the residential red zone’s future. Labour’s earthquake recovery spokeswoman Megan Woods said she had “grave concerns” that Canterbury was slipping down the Government’s priority agenda. “Canterbury doesn’t have a place at the table when decisions are being made.” Mrs Wagner said the city was in a great position compared to 15 years ago where you could “shoot a gun down Cashel Mall at 11am” some days. “Who would have believed down the track we’re in such a strong position?” She said following the February 22, 2011, earthquake, their original expectations on how quickly the rebuild could happen were not realistic. “That was the biggest challenge. “We’ve got the momentum going in the right direction.”