Footage of a violent attack on Auckland’s busy waterfront over the weekend has been described by National’s police spokesperson as “abhorrent behaviour.”
The video, published by the New Zealand Herald, shows about six adults viciously beating another person lying motionless on the ground, in broad daylight, outside the Downtown Ferry Terminal on Saturday night.
Several members of the public tried to intervene unsuccessfully.
One attacker hurls what appears to be a metal barrier or sign at the motionless victim as the group walks away.
The Quay Street area surrounding the terminal is normally packed with partygoers, tourists, and commuters.
National’s police spokesperson Mark Mitchell told Newshub the Government isn’t taking crime issues seriously.
“Sadly, scenes like this have become too common under a soft-on-crime Government that has overseen a 33 percent increase in violent crime.”
Criminals feel emboldened under a Labour Government, Mitchell said, and that crime has gotten out of control.
If elected, National would give police “the tools they need, and ensure offenders face tougher consequences for cowardly violent behaviour like this,” he added.
Auckland Business Chamber’s CEO Simon Bridges had a similar reaction to the daylight assault, labelling it “barbaric.”
“Police need to be present in greater numbers in the CBD and need to show zero tolerance around violence and the anti-social behaviour sadly we seem too ready to accept,” he argued.
He went to an Auckland Business Chamber event at the terminal on Wednesday, but hearing about this latest incident gave him “real pause for thought.”
Bridges told Newshub he had spoken to the Police Minister, the Auckland Minister, and the Prime Minister about the issue of anti-social behaviour in Tāmaki Makaurau.
In a statement, Police told Newshub officers were first alerted about the attack at about 5.30pm on the day, but the group had dispersed before officers arrived.
“However, we are still interested in speaking to anyone who witnessed the incident.”
They’re asking the public to come forward if they have information, or any photos or videos of the area at the time.
“Sadly for a lot of Aucklanders it wasn’t that shocking,” AM co-host Ryan Bridge told the show’s viewers on Thursday morning.
He said he was concerned about the brazen violence, especially in broad daylight.
“There are tourists around watching this. There are families eating across the road from this. They are literally kicking him when he’s down.
“A lot of leaders are now asking about crime and the Budget. It’s been thrust back into the spotlight this morning because of these incidents.”
He reminded the show’s audience that Police say to not get involved, because there could be hidden weapons, for example.
“So the official advice is not to get involved,” he added, “but you can understand why people would want to.”
AM co-host Laura Tupou agreed with Bridge, saying the video was confronting.
“It was early evening. There would have been lots of people around. In those situations, it’s like – what do you do?” she said.
Tupou said the public should call police for help, but it’s difficult when you’re in the heat of the moment.
“It was great that some people did try and help, but I don’t know what I would do,” she said.
AM fill-in newsreader Michael O’Keefe told viewers it was brave for bystanders to get involved.
“Because if you’re just one person jumping in, amid what looked like six people fighting, even that’s very difficult. What are you meant to do?”
Police say there has been an increase in assaults in Auckland’s city centre since the COVID-19 pandemic began.