Public meeting to be held on crime and harassment in Wellington

National list MP Nicola Willis is hosting a public meeting on city safety in Wellington tonight.

The issue has been in the spotlight recently after an increased reporting of sexual abuse and a string of serious assaults, including a fatal assault outside Te Papa earlier this year.

In March, hundreds of people took to Courtenay Place to rally against sexual violence and call for safer streets in the capital.

Police data shows the number of sexual assaults in Wellington has increased by nearly 50 per cent in the past five years.

The number of acts intended to cause injury, including common and serious assault, has also grown by 35 per cent over the same period.

Willis herself has said publicly she doesn’t feel safe walking in the central city and issued a challenge to her colleagues.

“I encourage any Minister to walk down Courtenay Place, to walk through Manners Mall on any day of the week, at any time, and tell me they feel safe and if they don’t feel safe, they need to be doing more to ensure others can.”

Willis said she called the public meeting after fielding concerns about a lack of action on crime, harassment and disorder in Wellington’s public places.

Business owners and local residents have reported it’s the worst they have ever seen it, she said.

“The meeting is an opportunity for members of the public to have their voices heard, to tell us their stories about what they see happening in their central city, to put the questions they want Government to answer and other agencies present in the city, and to offer constructive solutions.”

National’s justice spokesman Simon Bridges will be hosting the meeting alongside Willis.

The meeting will be held at Naumi Hotel on Cuba St from 6pm.

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