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National's boot camp policy a dog-whistle to Winston First voters as English and Joyce seek poll jump; Alex Tarrant says the policy is an insulting acknowledgement of the National Cabinet's lack of understanding on inter-generational poverty

National's boot camp policy a dog-whistle to Winston First voters as English and Joyce seek poll jump; Alex Tarrant says the policy is an insulting acknowledgement of the National Cabinet's lack of understanding on inter-generational poverty

By Alex Tarrant

National must be getting very, very scared of Winston Peters.

I would hope that the release of such an outrageous Young Serious Offenders policy on Sunday could only be put down to the fact that National is three points below where it wants to be in the polls – as Steven Joyce said Sunday – and that it thinks it can nick this back from New Zealand First’s strong ‘boot camp’ wing. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case - it's worse than that.

They’re going to need more than a 3% swing. This policy will see more centre voters shift to Labour, following the Ardern-led flow over the past two weeks. It is easily seen for what it is: a let’s-get-some-quick-headlines love affair with dog-whistle politics.

The dog-whistle insult was ironically thrown at National on Sunday by none other than Peters himself. New Zealand First’s response can basically be boiled down to ‘our boot camps will be better than yours’:

“National created this problem by its lack of resourcing for the police and not recognising that many youth go off the rails at school. For many, school is not the best fit,” Peters said.

“New Zealand First would take these youth out of school, before they get into bashing and threatening dairy owners, and give them a chance. Our Youth Education Training and Employment scheme would put them into paid training in the Defence Force where they would improve their literacy and numeracy and learn a trade.

“They’d have something to focus on, and wouldn’t be wandering the streets looking for trouble. By 18 they would be work ready and valuable to our workforce,” he said.

The staggering line in Peters’ argument is that many of these young people go off the rails at school.

Perhaps he means while they’re at school age? This may well be when many issues are first noticed. But if a child in Peters’ words ‘first goes off the rails’ at age 12 then there would have been many, many years of poverty, neglect, abuse and lack of state and/or family support beforehand. And not just for this young person, but their parents’ and grandparents’ generations before them.

This is why, if it weren’t for the polls, I’d be surprised National is entering this sort of dog-whistle policy territory. I had thought that all this championing of a ‘social investment approach’ to youth was a softening of the Right’s stance on how to help the people these policies are targeted at.

Bill English regularly talks about these ‘million-dollar children’ – that by the time someone like the Serious Young Offenders they’re targeting is in their early twenties, they’ve cost the state a million dollars in support, welfare, prison time and the like.

The social investment approach is supposed to be all about leveraging data held by the government to identify a ‘million dollar baby’ when he or she is born, or very young. It implied (to me at least) that National was researching different methods to identify when early intervention and support was required, an acknowledgement that a young person doesn’t actually have any control over how they end up.

Alas, Sunday’s policy shows that’s not the case.

National’s policy announcement begins by saying they’re making great strides in reducing youth crime – down 31% since 2011, apparently. But: “There remains, though, a small group of around 150 young people who commit large numbers of very serious offences. It is clear more needs to be done to deal with this small, hardened group.”

A Serious Young Offender apparently is someone the National Party can’t understand. National seems to be confused as to why such people ‘choose’ to reoffend when we’ve told them that it’s not a nice thing to do.

“These are young people who have been in and out of Youth Court but have shown no willingness or ability to change their behaviour. We are not prepared to just sit back and allow their victims to keep racking up until they reach adulthood,” Amy Adams said Sunday.

The policy announcement shows signs of understanding: “In many cases, young people who offend have few good role models,” Adams says. OK, a good start there – anything else?

But she continues: “…or are given the freedom to commit crimes. We will make changes to hold their parents to account, including by allowing Police to issue instant infringement notices to parents of children under 14 walking the streets without supervision between 12am and 5am.”

Given freedom to commit crimes? What does she think happens? ‘It’s midnight now, son, so off you go, mum and I don’t mind if you go and commit some crimes. Just be back by sunrise, mind, you’ve got school tomorrow.’

Issuing infringement notices or fines to poverty-stricken parents who were also failed by state and societal systems isn’t going stop a 17-year old taking off day or night. ‘Oh, so sorry mum – you got one of those infringement notices? My fault. I’ll stay home and cook us all a roast dinner this evening.’

This is a multi-generational issue. If we’re talking about it then it is because of failings under multiple governments. A fix is not sending 150 kids National Cabinet Ministers don’t understand into Army training and then being surprised when another 150 (or more) just pop up. A fix requires society supporting policies that over two or three generations might mean that my grandkids aren’t born into a country with an even larger poverty epidemic.

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Anything and everything for votes.

National should be worried not only about Winston Peter but all opposistion as approaching election as this election is for change.

National policy should be seen what they actually are and have done over last 9 years instead what they are throwing just before election.

Agree that anything to stop crime is good but national has to go as 9 years to realize is too long a period.

I dont agree , the issue of youngsters who have left school sitting around doing nothing is not confined to lower -income families and is a problem in both middle class and well-to-do families as well .

We are not wealthy, but of our 3 children , the youngest really needed his backside kicked to get a job.

Its only when I turned off his allowance because he was not getting a skill or working, that he realized he had to do something or get left behind .

Yes I have middle-class friends in that position - kids that would rather spend 16 hours a day gaming than look for a job, a couple that will start things but lack any stickability to get through the first little obstacle that comes their way. I'm not sure what the cause or the solution is but it sure is a problem. The gut feeling is that they need some tough love as you've described. (Morgan's idea of a UBI targeted at youth had us horrified.)

Why horrified? We already have a number of living support benefits (student allowance, unemployment benefit) available to youth anyway, so why not make it universal? It gives youth the opportunity to take on part-time and/or seasonal work without incurring benefit abatement and all the hassles associated with trying to report that kind of additional income to WINZ.

Less admin and bureaucracy that we taxpayers have to pay for and more work experience (and income) for our youth to get themselves started in their independence/young adulthood.

Here's the policy reading. I really think if you read it thoroughly, you'll find little to argue against.

Yes, I've seen it. I have no objection to a universal allowance for kids that are doing something constructive (although it is a middle-class subsidy for those at university). But I have a strong objection to giving free no-strings handouts to young people for doing absolutely nothing.

More money leads to more spoilage and more corruption ... our problem is that we treat kids as adults !! when we should guide them through discipline and reward...unfortunately discipline gradually disappeared from this equation !! and anyone can do anything he/she like including crime !!

What has got us here is the softness of society, the stupid PC attitude, lost moralities, and too many Rights with Zero responsibilities taught at schools from the year dot .... I have seen and suffered from that in raising mine. ... it has been so bad that when a couple raise good kids they consider themselves Lucky!!

This social engineering leaves everyone to his fate and chances in life and it will get worse because Nothing is being done about it !! same schools , same systems and same loose attitude ...

Boot camps are great for the ones who have completely gone off the rails, so is the good old cane stick !!

I have seen and suffered from that in raising mine. ... it has been so bad that when a couple raise good kids they consider themselves Lucky!!

For you maybe, but wrong to generalise. I raised good kids and consider myself proud, not lucky.

The kids that are lucky to my mind are those who have parents that grow qualities of kindness, humility and empathy in their children. Doesn't sound like 'your way' - I get that.

Funny, I know plenty of great kids (top achievers in various fields) who were raised by people with quite opposite politics to you, who see working for opportunities for the poor to be key trait of our society. They don't think of those things as only being relevant when John Key was an impoverished child, and less so now.

NZ used to be far more socialist than it is now. That's one reason you own a house.

Do you also object to the government giving free no-strings handouts to old people for doing absolutely nothing?

... there should be strings attached ... to the old people's ankles ... then we could haul them up and down chimney stacks ... a great way to clean out the soot .... organic too .... and it'd give the oldies a sense of purpose in life ...

Win - win .... yup ... there should be strings attached if we give them money ...

The strings attached to giving old people money came about by taxing them and making them promises many years ago that if they paid those taxes, and supported this and that expenditure of the government of the day that they would get the superannuation on reaching 65!!

It's all connected though. At the same time as this was happening, other government policies were acting in compliment with the idea of the pension - some key ones being around fostering the supply of affordable housing. That's why we had smaller houses that were affordable...And the pension was predicated on the majority of people living mortgage-free in their own home in retirement.

Now that one half of the equation has been abandoned, and people have seen their wealth increase massively (and untaxed!) through those houses, why should young people have to pay for the pension of those who have (via their policy makers) abandoned that half of the equation? If young people have to stand on their own two feet more, why not the old folks too?

That is a hell of an assumption Rick unless you are only talking about Auckland. Many elderly have stayed in their homes for years and it is the 390 thousand increase in population over the past five years that has increased house prices. Many elderly have had to leave their homes as they can't afford the rates/insurance/water/power etc - not because they were after a "killing" on what they get. Many parts of NZ, homeowners have lost a lot of money, farms etc but guess you are too young to recall 24% interest rates etc or know about how "the oldies" lived their lives by scrimping and saving.

It's not an assumption, it's a history of how NZ's housebuilding efforts have aided affordability for years, and how affordability has declined since they've ceased. That's not to say that each and every person within each cohort has uniform experiences.

I recall 24% interest rates and the accompanying inflation that ended up helping save the day, and I'm also fully aware that young Kiwis today are saving at a higher rate than preceding generations did.

Doubt it. Most we see are capitalist on tax day and socialist on pension day.


Many youth go off the rails by not having the entry level jobs available that their parents and grandparents had.

Off the cuff examples would be petrol station attendants, cafe work, fruit picking etc. All jobs we no longer see young kiwis doing as a result of National's immigration policies kowtowing to NZ businesses.

Kiwis so dumb lah.

@smalltown ........... BOLLOCKS !

There is nothing to stop any country -town boy or girl seeking a job at the local fuel station or picking fruit .

The truth is that many of them see this work as "below " them , or have a huge culture of expectation , or a poor work ethic , or shoddy time-keeping and / or big problem taking sickies, or a combination of the above.

You have no idea how hard it is to run a petrol station when your staff down pitch for their shift .

There is also a bit of a stigma attached to doing this type of work among their peers , which is not regarded as ' cool ' work .

Add to that a big dose of nafi ( no ambition and f....all interest ) and its little wonder that migrants are preferred


And where do they learn those "its beneath them" attitudes?. The parents.

My kids are 15 and 17, both still at school and both working at the local McDonald's. My son went down to there the day he turned 15 and has been happily earning money working for them ever since- and has got some of his mates now working there too. They like having some disposable income for weekends and its a great first job and helping them develop social skills, work skills and also get an understanding of the types of jobs they may not want to do fulltime when they finish school and a reeason to do tertiary study!

I've been working with youth the last few years in the tertiary sector, the number of kids that by the age of 18-19 have never worked a day in their life, no idea how to get a job, no work ethic, or even ability to get to course on time is really astounding. About half the kids we had come through were motivated, had part time jobs and great attitude, the rest were already pretty unemployable without a seismic shift in attitude.

It s true a large number of entry jobs that used to exist while kids were at school have disappeared- lawn mowing, newspaper runs, milk runs, cleaning the local engineering workshop floor, etc etc (some due to H&S changes making it a risk to employ them) so it is harder than ever to get that first job while at school and learn some work/life skills- this is one area I think we are failing our youth while they are still at school.

Best thing parent's can teach kids is this: Your role in society is to contribute and pay taxes, you do that by working and it doesn't matter where or what as long as you are doing your share! Every time my kids bagged McDonald's workers when younger my reply was the same, at least they are working and paying taxes!

Well, in fairness...they're the product of the Boomer generation, aren't they. The same ones who grew up with the benefits of NZ's more social-leaning policies then pulled the ladder up for the following generations, while claiming to have done it all on their "own two feet". Maybe having such for parents hasn't produced the greatest results.

Totally agree Boatman. We however have been lucky that our kids have the work ethic and are not below starting at the bottom. I so often see and hear of kids coming out of college/university expecting to go straight into management. It is a similar issue with the housing ladder wanting to jump on halfway up rather than start on the bottom rung.

I'm no fan of the current immigration policy Smalltown, but I'd have to say it's easier now to get low-skill entry level jobs than it has been over the last few years. Just my experience as my children have reached that age.



Surprising policy from National. If this is good policy now why did it take 9 years of inaction.

By accident or not Winston is right on one issue - school is not a great environment for every child. Some teenagers would benefit from far more hand on purposeful employment. Who knows after a couple of years doing general construction and/or farm labouring they might enjoy some theory back in the school room. Our education system was designed by people who enjoy school with little sympathy for those who hate it.

Meanwhile National should stop this 'hard on crime' attitude and return to social investment in youth.

Breakfast TV was surprisingly on the ball this morning:

Hosts: "But Bill, this didn't work last time round. And all the research coming out of the USA identifies that boot camps don't work."

Bill: "This isn't a short sharp jolt. This is a year with an intensive wrap round service and what we know from other intensive wrap round services is that they generally do work."

"If we don't change what we do they just go to prison. They go in as amateur criminals and come out with a PHD in being a criminal.

"So we're trying something different. It's worth having a crack at."

Unless a boot camp can take them away for a very long period AND equip them with autonomy and skills to achieve a measure of self-actualisation, and training and education to get them into a place they feel they have a future and the ability to achieve it won't change anything. Perhaps they've failed when tried because they don't do this?

Aside from that, I'm...actually more concerned that Bill is saying now after nine years of being in power that our prisons are terrible at rehabilitating people. Is it related to the fact they've been more ideologically pulled toward the for-profit model prolific in the USA rather than the rehabilitation-first model practiced in parts of Europe?

If we're going to invest in a year long boot camp to try to rehabilitate some young offenders, why are we not taking the same sort of ideological stance to all offenders, rather than settling for our prisons turning amateur criminals into folk with a PhD in being a criminal? Are we just ideologically opposed to things that are being tried in Europe vs. the USA?

And yes - others make a good point. Why make it hard for people who want to train and get a job, but invest lots of money in people once they've gone so far off the rails. Seems like an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, at that point.

Wraparound Services do certainly work. Bill is right and it's a good idea. But Bill needs to tame the beast that is his Wellington based civil service. While they love the word 'Wraparound" they have absolutely no idea of how to operate anything.
I heard that at the closure of some special school they promised 'wraparound' and actually set up two inadvertently. Imagine a Wraparound Service that made out that they were operating a complete service. Alongside another Wraparound Service saying they were doing the same thing for the same clients. And only later each discovered the other one existed.
Taxpayer shake your head.

There is plenty of vocational training in schools now. At my daughters school they can be learning mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, hospitality, horticulture, childcare etc, with Gateway placements into industry. They should be able to transition seamlessly into the workforce.

I wish that was true. My son wasted all his years at school and as each year went by he wasted more. Certainly not the schools fault - they went far and beyond their responsibility. Now my son is working and I can't believe it is the same person - he actually gets up quietly and goes to work on time whereas at school he barely made midday. If the school provides Gateway placements that last say 75% of the school timetable in a given year then it would not work for kids like him. I really wish it would. BTW our son has the personality and brains to make something out of his life but I feel guilty about the less able schoolmates he may have influenced.


Combine this policy with more coverage of the deputy PM, and they lose even more votes.
Perhaps a journalist could highlight all the unemployment/ not-in-training stats of kiwis under 25, & trace their pathways.

Nonsense , that is the worst kind of nanny - state nonsense we can wish for !

We already provide free schooling , heaps of free courses , and all sorts of incentives to get internships and apprenticeships .

You can take the horse to water , but then its up to the horse

Combine this policy with more coverage of the deputy PM, and they lose even more votes.
Perhaps a journalist could highlight all the unemployment/ not-in-training stats of kiwis under 25, & trace their pathways.

this army boot camp was tried in the 90's and had a very very low rate of success, all it did was make young crims fitter


The pendulum has swung against national. I predict their polling will get worse and worse....this policy is a rather sad atttempt to 'correct' the pendulum. But one the pendulum swings it's very hard to stop...


The more they try - more badly the defeat will be from here.

There is no viable alternative to National in a coalition , Labour are still as sixes and sevens on major policy issues , and frankly I dont want to go back to a nanny state in which we are taxed more and EVERYONE becomes poorer .


Mantras don't become more true the more often they're repeated.

National looking pretty stale - but nine years in opposition and Labour can't figure the cost or details of a water tax? Or they know and deceive by omission? If you are going to tax somehting that every man and his dog uses you would think there would be a few more details?

in saying that BE looked very unprepared when questioned by jack tame this morning, starting to spout 18 cabbages but when jack came back with actual workings of numbers looked a bit sheepish as it blew that right out of the water so to speak
the only part BE got right was the iwi claim nightmare that will come with it which he did not push to hard on and should be the main sticking point from a national fightback on this policy

Same for the same opinions repeated ad nauseum. I reckon I'm one of the few that has changed my vote based on the posts here. I was going to back WP, but am going to vote National now to keep that status quo with WP slowing things down nicely. Even though I know I'm a winner in either camp as it was always going to be National & NZF government with a few hangers on, I still want to give BE a stronger bargaining mandate.

More boatman nonsense

Of course there are viable alternatives - you just may not like them

Labour are not really offering anything new , except more taxation , the Greens have come apart at the seams, and Winston cannot be trusted ( Helen Clarke fired him remember ) .

That leaves TOP and National as viable alternatives

Lol, the Greens are more concerned about the poor than the trees, looks like the "poor"are the winning fashion line everyone is wearing!!
you are absolutely right about the nanny state and taxation - No one is prepared to go back to that old crap - we have moved On !!

The huge problem with Labour is that they have a very dysfunctional and Flimsy team ... hence they cannot be trusted to take the helm now - they need to mature and change to achieve Change !!

I guess they are just going to have to learn on the job

lol, thanks for making my point :)

Good idea (not) ..... build the plane while its flying .... good way to crash.

If you are in a position to build the plane while you are flying you must have some extraordinary talent to have gotten up in the air to do it. Looks better all the time

Have you seen the direction National is taking NZ society?

I wouldn't exactly call them viable, per se.

I see National gaining the biggest percentage vote and linking up with Winston at virtually any price (apart from giving him the role of PM). The election after this National will be out and heaven help us.

I think so too...NZF are a lot further than L/G than National .. my guess is we will see a Nat/NZF gov come October...

Winnie will have some pretty good bargaining chips.
He'll demand some decent cutbacks in immigration, for example.


It's very disappointing to see this type of policy garbage dished out by a centre right party that no doubt wishes to be seen as pragmatic and sensible. It may attract a particular type of voter but it repels many others. It just looks desperate.


Agreed Alex, this is National in panic mode.

A simple knee-jerk response to a complex problem will not and has not worked. It's like they live in some white picket fence fantasy land where a bit of stern discipline will get the problem sorted. This is a futile attempt to deal with the symptoms rather than tackling the problem

With .the overnight curfew, how likely are the parents to pay the fine? What do you do if it's not paid? Does the fine get paid and the child get beaten? Will this change child and parental behaviour? Have they really any idea what these kids home conditions look like?

This is likely to be as successful and Paula Bennet's "$5,000 to leave Auckland" policy to fix the housing crisis.

The real world is complex and solutions need to be well thought through and long term.

Absolutely pathetic.

"A simple knee-jerk response to a complex problem will not and has not worked"

That's very true, and this is by no means the only context in which it is very true.

We should ask ourselves, though, why politicians on all sides keep coming up with simple, knee-jerk, poorly-developed policy solutions for complex problems, particularly towards election time.

Could it possibly be related to the habit of so many journalists of shouting "YES OR NO? YES OR NO?! EXPLAINING IS LOSING!!!!!" rather than attempting to listen whenever a politician starts to explain that a policy issue is complicated?

I agree MdM that the habit of TV journalists pressing for Yes/No answers is truly annoying. Particularly the one about working arrangements re: other parties after the election.

However, this is proposed National policy - they've had years of thinking time to develop a policy and this is the best they can come up? I'm not asking them to explain the policy I'm asking why they're so bereft of better ideas.

I do a lecture at the university I work at each year on antisocial behaviour, including a segment on why previous boot camps have failed, and why they don't work. National is being as evidence based as they always have I see :'(. Clearly this is just trying to attract votes from the "tough on crime" brigade.

The problem with Labour is that ugly serpent called Capital Gains Tax has raised its insidious head again and this is a vote loser .......... Grant Robertson all but confirmed this on the Nation over the weekend when he said its back on the table .

Quite simply CGT is a resentment Tax that is introduced by radical left-wing governments to appease their constituency in the mistaken belief it will bring asset prices down .

There is NO EVIDENCE to support that any new TAX has ever in the history of mankind brought prices down .......... its an oxymoron .

Quite simply Labour dont get that New Zealanders dont want to pay any more complicated taxes, especially taxes that could reduce living standards and more so when the Government does not need the money


Income tax is a resentment tax that is introduced by the radical land owning class to make hard working people pay as much of the tax burden as possible, despite so much value then accruing to the land owners. You can label any tax a resentment tax - why do you resent workers retaining all their hard-earned wages, and demand instead that it should be taken to fund the services you use, and the pension you'll feel 'entitled' to?

As fewer people get access to land and home ownership, it certainly would behoove younger Kiwis to vote for a party that suggests splitting the tax burden between the income they earn, and the wealth being gained (to date, free of tax) by those who were able to benefit from earlier access to land and housing under more government-assisted times and models.

Besides which - Land Tax has a history of working in NZ. It's one of the reasons you own a home today.

Absolutely right. My productive income is taxed at 33% while this Boatman sits on his back side "earning" tax free wealth. You can't even make the argument that this speculator behavior facilitates the efficient allocation of capital; most of the rentals are damp old shitboxes and plenty of speculators simply make money off land banking alone.

NO I DONT earn ant tax free wealth while sitting on my backside, dont jump to conclusions .................we have one residential property at which we reside , we have savings which are taxed at 33% , Kiwisaver (taxed) , a minority share in an office building which breaks even , some Bonds ( taxed) and Equities (taxed) which have been acquired slowly (very slowly) over the past 35 years.

And yes I work 5 days a week like most other folk .

To clarify, my comment wasn't intended to criticise you personally for having large untaxed wealth gains. It was merely to point out that we don't necessarily have any good reason to envy workers' wages and tax them heavily, and give other big earners of wealth a tax-free ride. It creates distortions like we're seeing now, and doesn't even recognise the fact much of that tax-free wealth gain comes from having those envied workers in reasonable proximity to the land.

We can't assume the status quo we have right now is "fair".

Did you even read the article before having a rant?
It was about bootcamp, not CGT.

Boatman is paid by the word

It's generally accepted that a land tax would reduce the price of land by making it less attractive to hold. Slightly different to a CGT, but your often repeated claim that taxes cannot bring down prices has no basis in fact.

"No specific rate was proposed, but former Reserve Bank Chairman and Tax Working Group member Arthur Grimes put forward a paper in late 2009 that estimated a 1% land tax would raise NZ$4.6 billion and cause an almost overnight reduction of land values of 16.7%. That would have bought a substantial income tax reduction and avoided a GST increase."

I like this idea but it has to be done properly. The focus should be on developing discipline, camaraderie and most importantly a sense of élan. There would be smart uniforms both formal and combat fatigues. There would be a lot of marching and They would learn how to do military construction. Fly in helicopters and possibly overseas assignments in the islands working in conjunction with the navy. There would also be follow up weekend training. drills. We could develop formal colours and banners and have medal ceremonies with a very special finishing ceremony done at night time with flaming torches and drums. The idea would be to make it totally awesome from a young man's perspective - the experience of a lifetime.

Will you also invent a time machine and send the kids back to the 1930s to join Hitler Youth? They seemed like the real specialist in the sort of organisation you are advocating for..... Apologies if your proposal was a joke......I couldn't tell if you were being serious or not

well, he's 'Alt-right' which has strong neo-nazi affiliations so I suspect he wasn't joking...

Alt right needs Control Alt Delete

Sounds great, what about a name... ummmmmm...ohhhh... how about The Army ??? I should be in marketing, Ive always liked colouring in.

"A fix requires society supporting policies that over two or three generations might mean that my grandkids aren’t born into a country with an even larger poverty epidemic."
We are now a massively fractured society. I don't think many have even a clue of the extent of dysfunction in families and communities right around this country. It's not just the odd bad apple, it's a culture of failure, lack of structure, self respect and basic morality. I don't have a problem with boot camps or military training for some young folk; I've seen the improvement.
All these decades of floundering around and huge resources on everything from CYFs and social support to tough love and prisons. So just what is "the fix" Alex?

Surely it is not difficult to surmise that the jump in criminal activity, especially these aggravated robberies, has a direct link to the advent of the drugs we are seeing these days and the rise of poverty in the country.
Surely, the way to deal with this is to deal with the causes.
Personally, I would start by trying to get rid of the synthetic death out there on the streets and it has to be by adopting laws similar to Portugal. Legalizing cannabis has to be a start point, surely. We are being swamped by dodgy drugs and they could lead to the destruction of almost an entire generation. And if you look at everything from a dollar value point of view, give a second or two's thought the amount of money leaving these shores via these drugs.
You can be sure people carrying out armed robberies of dairies etc (rampant in the Waikato at the moment) are not doing it to save for a deposit on a house.
Let's deal with the problem, what a novel idea. It could just work.

This idea from National doesn't sound like a boot-camp. The PM said it is more like a military academy and the program is for those facing prison or youth prison for serious crime. This isn't a young kid being truant and goes to some camp for a kick up the backside for six weeks. One year of intensive intervention is vastly different to boot camp. The military academy on the North Shore, Vanguard, seems to be doing very well so if that is replicated then it could be very good. It will come down to delivery of course.

It will have little to no effect other than for a few who could become motivated to walk a different park, the ones who would become the poster boys, but for the majority it will make no difference and most would probably not qualify for this sort of activity anyway. Some of these people have developed to have no empathy, no real sense of right and wrong and ill from drug abuse.

What's the measure of success though? Our current system is failing miserable to tackle that harden group. That's not to say then we must try the PM's proposal. Rather lets compare the current with that proposal and see if it could work and achieve better results. It doesn't have to be perfect just better.

There is none, but we seem to use money as a yardstick, which I think is wrong. There are many things that people can "succeed" at, that bear little reward beyond knowing it was successful, outstanding examples of that, to me, would be people who make huge sacrifices to foster children, people for who art is a way of life, someone who manages to be independent against the odds like Downs Syndrome people, parapalegics etc, I am sure you can think of plenty more. Perhaps success should be measured, if it is to be, in a happiness quotient. Maybe the Buddhists are onto something.

This is where I fail to comprehend the mindset of darklords and property investors. Knowing that there are a lot of people out there who are struggling, knowing the poverty, the homelessness, the young familes who want to buy a home and get established without the stresses of a large mortgage - and yet the darklord or property investor will go to the auction and outbid the young family, or bid and push the price up, knowing that each bid is putting more stress and strain on other people....why would they do this if they already own their own home and well through their mortgage repayments or are debt free? Why would you cause financial hardship for other people? Why don't they get on with their own lives, living happily in their own homes (you only need one to be happy!....)

After years of thinking about this, I've come to the realisation that something significant has happened in these peoples lives, to the point where their own greed is more important than other peoples well being. Its a pretty sad state to live their lives..but its all to common place in NZ these days....unfortunate really....but yet a sign of success none the less to the current government...some form of capitalist ponzi...

IO you are entitled to you opinion. As you have spent many years concocting your bias against landlords and somehow have now tarred many as some sort of instigators of darkness to New Zealand youth. As you have thought about this for years I am probably at a loss to offer any nuggets of advice of how perhaps you could free your thinking against darklords. I will be generous and assume you are not just trolling and that you really believe that investment property owners are to blame for youth crime and systemic generational under achievement in some parts of NZ society. As a counter thought there really can be no excuse for crime or laziness in the true sense in NZ. Perhaps parenting should have a WOF versus landlords, but I would entertain both. In NZ every basic need of a child is given. Free money, food, housing, education, pension, health care, apprenticeshios, you name it, its free. In fact I can't think of one thing a child needs to pay for in NZ.

Hypothetical situation keywest - you're lining up your next rental purchase but become aware that a young couple who have just moved into town would like to buy it. Do you:

1. Think to yourself, they look like a nice young couple. I already own 3 houses, I'll sit back and let them enjoy the benefit of home ownership.
2. Go to the bank and ask for more credit so that you can make a more competitive offer to the owners?
3. Think, man if I don't buy this and beat out this young couple, some other landlord will...

What is your train of thought?

The couple could always rent the property after I bought it and look to buy something else? I'd be happy to have them for 10 years+ Not being facetious and quite truthful. If however their kid was a bit of a criminal drop kick I'd hope he'd go to this bootcamp and get his shit sorted out. Don't see any relationship between your arguement and this discussion thread?

What happens if the younger generation don't want to align themselves with this model where you own everything and benefit from everything - and they are simply meant to play along to your needs and desires?

A revolt will occur...

Any that don't will either go to jail or live a life of poverty for their entire adult lives.

Measure of success - I mean how much reduction in recidivism is the goal.

It's all the same, at the end of the day

I think this is a bizarre move regardless of which party. Not really what I would consider a suitable pre-election tatic.

Jami-Lee Ross has a better election plank, Lock up the window washers (the pests at intersections)

I see Barfoot and Thompson, Peter Thompson in a video saying in the Herald that the 20% Deposit should be scrapped .

Who carries the risk when a 100% LTV mortgagor defaults?

Either this man has self - interest as a priority or he is a total Idiot ............. but he is certainly not saying this for altruistic reasons .

so Alex. It's intergenerational. Are you proposing camp with education for the whole whanau.

This article intimates that National can only choose between dealing with the symptoms of poverty as you suggest (i.e. this policy) or dealing with the causes.
Surely they can do both? And surely we want them to do both?
Your article presents no argument against this policy, and even suggests that National are also looking into the causes.
So it looks like they have both bases covered. Sounds good.


Why on earth would a nationalist NZ First voter support the party that imports tens of thousands of fake chefs and "students" every year? For me sovereignty comes first, the economy comes second. What use is a short-term boost to the non-productive "economy" when the next generation are forced into a poor living standards (high debt, long commutes, endless cultural issues) basically forever.

It keeps National in power for another term - and that is the extent of their ambition.....

Agree, sovereignty and social sustainability. NZ First and Labour are a more natural pairing. Possibly with a Green input if the Green Party can return to an environmental focus.

From your explanation, Alex, the big difference between the NZ First intention and the National one is that NZ First's intention is that the time with the military would be paid work training (like an apprenticeship) - whereas National's idea is an unpaid, non-voluntary attendance idea (much like secondary school).

That said though, I can't find the actual Youth Justice policy on the NZ First website that you are referring to. Here's what I can find on NZ First's Youth Justice policy:


New Zealand First believes that the priority for reducing youth crime is ensuring all young people are engaged in full time employment.
(from my perspective, this indicates they understand the crux of the issue)

New Zealand First will:

Require greater parental responsibility for young offenders.
Ensure that young recidivist offenders are dealt with by an expanded and reconstituted Youth Court with improved guidelines.
Retain Family Group Conferences (FGC) for under 12 years offenders, but any such offender will be dealt with under this provision only three times, and thereafter will be dealt with by the adult criminal courts.
Provide police with the powers and resources to address truant behaviour.
Introduce stricter controls on the ratings of, and restrictions to the access to violent or sexually explicit videos.
Raise the alcohol purchase age to 20 years.

I hadn't realised before that they want to raise the age of alcohol purchase to 20 years. Good on them - it's what the Law Commission has been recommending for years.

TOP's Positive Justice Policy (apt name regards this discussion) just out today;

I would rather just see Compulsory Military Service put in place.

It would be interesting to see if Labour supports gender quotas there!

I've often thought about a non-compulsory Conservation Corps. Anyone between the ages of 17-21 could sign up for a max period of 3 years. It would be paid employment - above the minimum wage rate. Ideal if accommodation/transport could be provided FOC, so that the attendees could save their salary for future uni fees, a house deposit, etc. etc.

I mentioned the idea to a class of uni students once - and more than half of them would have joined straight out of secondary as a means to save for their uni education. In other words, they would have deferred tertiary study - which (from anecdotal evidence) is actually helpful in terms of the quality of their work at tertiary level anyway - as a means to avoid debt.

Kind of a kick start youth employment programme in an area of work (conservation/environment) where there is an endless supply of really worthwhile work to do.

The way things are shaping up around the world, you may just get our wish

Oops there goes another potential coalition partner;

lol, OMG and you want us to get ahead of this problem >?

jesus, Not matter who does what, No one will ever succeed as long as we have heads like these !! .... too many rights , too little responsibilities ... " an attack on Maori and Pasifika children and youth" ?? ...seriously ??

Green Party social development spokeswoman Jan Logie said the plan was heartless and illogical, whether it was called a boot camp or a "wraparound service"..... nay Greenie want to comment on that BS please?

Am I the only one who is shocked of these atrocious reactions and attitudes ??

Why get a boot camp ruining a good party.? goodness !!

Yes, seriously.

So ...does that mean that the Maori Party admits that most offenders are Maori and Pacific ?? and yet they condemn it but do shit all about it ....because if they did we wouldnt have Gangs and youth roaming the streets and breaking into dairy stores and killing people ( who also have rights to live peacefully) - so whatever they are doing " whanau ora approach, kaupapa Maori" is not really working either ??

And they note " and more support across social services and education."... haha, there is the RUB ...give us more money and WE will TRY to sort it out !!! ... Ummm, Ok !!

Whatever National does it has to be condemned - they became the Black sheep of the family .... because it didn't do it in the last nine years...!! So National is doomed if they do and doomed if they don't -- Does any other party has a BETTER solution to this issue or is it too PC to touch in an election year .!!..? NZF have a similar approach but hey they are the untouchables

Many NZers will be lost to crime, drugs, and family violence because of this BS called tolerance and Political Incorrectness .... ! --- disgusting really !!

I strongly support compulsory Military service to all NZers, that will shape up our new generation and make good disciplined men and women out of them ...

When someone opens up a 1950's theme park, I will chip in a monthly pass, so you can indulge yourself. I haven't read such retro "back in the old days" nonsense, as per your comments, for a while.

Does any other party has a BETTER solution to this issue

Luckily, yes!

Hilarious, do you seriously think they would have brought this up if they weren't getting so desperate?

Yep I think they would. I honestly don't think they're "desperate". Worst case scenario is they are in opposition which sounds like an amusing and carefree way to pass the time.

Oh they are desperate alright, barely able to disguise it.

I agree EB, a lot of comments here against the "tough love" policies from folk that have few clues about the nature and extent of the problems or any proven way to solve it. Talk to some of the Maori leaders that aren't bogged down in PC bullshit (Dover Samuels up here in the North for example) and they'll tell you a few home truths and agree that military training has helped heaps of troubled kids to end up as proud, productive parents and members of their community.
For the most part however the problems of endemic youth crime will not really be solved without the wider community's help. Unfortunately most of these SJW types are firmly ensconced in their privileged neighbourhood, their children at the flash school, their workmates and friends, their whole life is so far removed from the reality of life at the bottom that they have only a theoretical idea of the issues.
They don't want to solve the problem, they want someone else to solve it for them - the hand of the state mostly.
How many are out coaching an underprivileged kids sports team or organising activities or having family contact with them. Most of these kids have no dad or even a male figure they can trust, think to yourself how it would be.
Here's a recent comment from DS:
Former Minister for Maori Affairs Dover Samuels says don't rely on whanau to help Maori prison inmates turn a corner because often home is where they learned to be criminals.

He said the call for greater whanau involvement in inmates' rehabilitation was "culturally correct claptrap".

Mr Samuels said boot camp would do a better job of straightening up Maori early in the offending cycle rather than "spoonfeeding young people who have been disconnected from family values because sometimes their whanau don't have decent values themselves."

Maybe, if these children were raised in a home where their natural fathers were present we wouldn't see so many "going off the rails."

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