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Feds: Army must deploy to rural flood-hit communities

Tuesday 28 February 2023, 4:48AM

By Federated Farmers of New Zealand

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Federated Farmers CEO Terry Copeland has called on the Government to deploy the army to deter crime in rural areas of Coromandel, East Cape and Hawke's Bay.
Copeland says the army was present following the Christchurch earthquake, which established a threshold now crossed by the crime and fear plaguing the flood hit regions.
Copeland was in the Hawke's Bay over the past few days and met plenty of people who were cleaning up flood damage.  Many had grave fears for the safety of themselves and property.
"People outside the region have little awareness of the dire situation. The criminal element is operating and intimidating in isolated rural and farming areas, and a perception is not enough is being done to rein them in.
"The Police are doing an awesome and much appreciated job. But the army would increase the reach of State authority and support to rural areas."
Copeland said there was no need for curfews or army enforcement powers, and the army could travel isolated regions, to make itself available as the communities requested.
"Rural communities are tight knit and self-reliant, but they could do with the reassurance and support of the army’s neutral presence.
"Exhausted people in flood-hit areas are very vulnerable, and the State is not there with them at enough scale. They need the reassurance of the army presence, and criminals need the army to deter them."