The Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill will punish mentally ill, and mentally distressed individuals. It will not prevent violent crime. Want to submit against the bill? Find out how here…


The Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill is currently at Select Committee stage. This means it’s time for you to have your say. This bill will cause immeasurable harm to our community. You can read more about some of the issues with this bill here. If you would like to have your say regarding the bill you can do so here. If you’d like to learn more about the bill you can read it here. If you would like to make a submission, but need some help, we’ve created a template which you can use below.

Kia ora,

My name is (put your name here, along with any experience or knowledge that is relevant to your submission) and I oppose this bill because (if you have personal reasons for opposing this bill, place these here).

I am concerned that the Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill fails to provide a solution to the issue which it seeks to address.

The bill fails to recognize that many of the people who will be affected by this bill are not in a rational or calm state of mind during the time these assaults occur. Many of the people affected by this bill will be punished for an action which they did not have full control over at the time of the offence. People who were not making a calculated decision to harm someone, but who were in fact reacting out of the pain and trauma they were experiencing. People who are severely destressed, mentally ill, intoxicated, or any combination of the above.

I believe that if this bill goes through it will have catastrophic consequences for our community. When you send one of our whanau to jail, it does not just affect the individual. It harms all of us. The children left behind without parents, the partners left alone to manage on their own, the whanau and friends who have to struggle with the stigma and loss of losing someone they love.

And when that person has done their time and they are released back to us, they will be only further traumatized and harmed by a system which is just not working to rehabilitate our people.

This bill will not prevent people from assaulting First Responders or Prison Officers, instead it will succeed only in increasing our prison numbers.

Instead of seeking punitive responses to complex problems, I believe parliament would be better served using our time and resources seeking out real solutions. For example:

  • Review the calibre and frequency of de-escalation and assessment training provided to First Responders and Prison Officers. Provide ongoing de-escalation and assessment training to all professionals working on the front line.
  • Provide intensive training for all first responders and prison officers around addiction, mental illness, and the effects of trauma and colonization. Build understanding within our frontline workers so that they are equipped to identify the risks and respond accordingly. Knowledge is power, and the more our First Responders and Prison Officers understand about the complex challenges facing people within our community, the more equipped they will be to deescalate tensions and provide a compassionate and effective response.
  • Bring back the previous governments plan to create a mental health team equipped to support the Police in de-escalating and caring for people in crisis and suffering from mental distress.
  • Review whether First Responders and Prison Officers have the right support to manage these high and complex situations they are being asked to walk into. Are they staffed adequately to deal with these situations? Do they have adequate safety and support plans in place to mitigate the risks they are dealing with?

To protect our First Responders and Prison Officers we must provide solutions that prevent them from being harmed in the first place.

I’m concerned that the Protection for First Responders and Correction Officers Bill fails to actually address the concerns it seeks to highlight. It will not prevent our First Responders and Prison Officers from being assaulted, and will only punish the very people who need our help and assistance the most.

My hope is that parliament will not proceed with this bill, but rather will redirect it’s energy into providing solutions that will mitigate the risk that our First Responders and Prison Officers face, with the goal of preventing these assaults from happening in the first place.

Nga mihi,

(Signed – your name)

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