Young offenders prioritised in policies
From previous page. Fines for young children out between 12 and 5am is a heartless policy that risks further discriminating against young people who are already being failed by our justice system, a disproportionate number of whom are Ma¯ori.
It is also a frankly ridiculous response to the family and sexual violence which drives many children onto the streets.
SHAYNE WIHONGI, NZ FIRST
The National proposal can be best described as too little too late. As New Zealand First Youth Affairs Spokesperson ListMP Darroch Ball said earlier this year, ‘‘...A boot camp for offenders is pointless if the justice system doesn’t hold young offenders to account.’’
The best course of action is prevention rather than cure, which is why New Zealand First Youth Affairs Spokesperson List MP Darroch Ball proposed a Youth Employment, Training and Education scheme (YETE) aimed at helping disengaged youth by giving them Army-run paid trade training and improving their literacy and numeracy so they are work-ready by the age of 18.
That scheme was opposed by this National Government, with some suggesting it was too costly. The cost for our Youth Employment scheme had a similar cost to this so-called academy.
If the current system is failing to curb youth crime, then tighter laws in a failed system will not achieve the required outcome.
Earlier this year, New Zealand First proposed a radical overhaul of the youth justice system in a new member’s bill, the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Youth Justice Demerit Points) Amendment Bill, which will introduce a demerit points system for youth offenders.
GAURAV SHARMA, LABOUR
Boot camps and infringement notices for parents are simply draconian and counterproductive. Troubled young people need to know they’ve got a real chance in life, not thrown into pointless boot camps as the National Party is proposing to do.
They are punishing parents when what we need are new ways of intervening early on with families who have challenging situations. These sorts of programmes don’t work. They just turn young criminals into fit young criminals.
There are far better ways to tackle youth crime than boot camps, which National knows simply failed to stop youth reoffending. Going to Waiouru for a year doesn’t fix family poverty, poor education and other problems which lead to youth crime. We need to tackle the root causes.
Labour has a plan to help vulnerable families through our expansion of Working for Families. We will tackle poverty because often that’s what turns young people to crime.
Our mental health strategy, which includes placing a nurse in every secondary school, will also help at risk youth. Labour will also properly fund Police by recruiting 1000 more officers to keep our communities safe.
Fixing our chronic homelessness problem, sorting out our schools and giving young people meaningful work, like Labour’s Ready for Work policy will do, is the stuff that reduces youth offending.
National should be tackling causes of poverty, not boot camp gimmicks... Hamilton will benefit from having a stronger community.
NZ First Hamilton West candidate Shayne Wihongi.
Hamilton West Labour candidate Gaurav Sharma.