Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Tidbits ahoy

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  • Paul Williams,

    Russell's description of Key's education announcement as a tidbit is about right. Elsewhere I see the numbers have been crunched to reveal the impact is one third of bugger-all. My recollection is that Labour's Gateway does much the same thing without the penalty of exclusion from benefits. The problem is that if the goal is to increase labour market participation, presumably to reduce skill shortages and improve productivity, then the focus should be on existing workers. The majority of NZ's future workforce is already in it, they're not new entrants and therefore this policy will have limited effect. Compare Key's focus with the achievements made through the Industry Training Strategy, a policy that National once owned, which trains the existing workforce and has increased five-fold since 1999.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    New Key:

    Boot camps.

    Youth crime

    As Labour has discovered, this sort of thing is expensive and difficult to pull off.

    But I wish people would stop talking about a youth crime wave on the basis of the usual January headlines. The youth offending rate has been level for at least the last five years.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    This guy deosn't appear to be the one to offer it, but some good clear criticism of NZ culture and its faults is not a bad thing.

    That's what I really liked about Hamish Keith's The Big Picture. Didn't agree with all his conclusions, by any means, but it was refreshing to see someone who thinks New Zealand art is strong enough to require neither validation from 'real' cultural centers like London or New York, nor mindless 'national identity' boosterism which resembles Tourism NZ puffery rather than intelligent cultural discourse. In my last PA Radio piece, I called it an encouraging sign that we're culturally edging out of that awkward adolescence.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Hayes,

    Boot camps eh...?

    There are some people out there who are going to be sweatily excited about that. Unfortunately I was stuck listening to them on Newstalk ZB for 10 long hours yesterday.

    Since Apr 2007 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    This made me snort with laughter, and then look around guiltily.

    Heh, surely it's common knowledge that there's more to Bangkok than amazing history, art, architecture and shopping?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Chamberlain,

    Did you see Richard Long in the Dominion yesterday? Going on about the spate of dairy robberies, and how bad it was, because 'some burglars turn into rapists'. Probably not many teenage dairy robbers do, though.

    London • Since Aug 2007 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Boot camps? Well, I guess we should thank the Gods that the headline wasn't 'Kiddie Gulags, Stale bread & Cold Showers For Scum - Key Sez'. (Though the usual suspects are working on it as we speak, I suspect.) :)

    On a first reading, I'd give Key a solid 7/10 -- but there are some patches I'm going to have to mull over for a bit. Totally fair comment for Russell to say "this sort of thing is expensive and difficult to pull off"; but at the same time, even if we're talking about a small number of hardcore offenders, I don't want to see them thrown on the scrap heap without the effort being made. Let alone anyone else getting their lives ruined because politicians of all stripes put it all in the too hard basket.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The youth offending rate has been level for at least the last five years.

    Actually, it looks like it hasn't shifted much as a proportion of all offending since the big jump between 1991 and 1994. ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Boot camps? Cracks me up. How to outsource physical discipline and yelling at your kids. 'Cause I'm sure most youth crime is committed by kids who've never been yelled at or smacked in their lives.

    But Youth is a cunning demographic for National to target. They can't vote, so they are the perfect whipping boy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Boot Camps for disadvantaged youth? I can see an opening for Tama Iti...

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I like this one from Key "No NZ sports team would be happy to be number 22". I used to play waterpolo, and it was always a big event when NZ beat anyone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    Boot Camps for disadvantaged youth? I can see an opening for Tama Iti...

    Perhaps the Urewera camps were National-sponsored trials for their planned bootcamps? Of course - the Terrorist! Terrorist! reaction all makes sense now...Police were pressured by Labour to demonise Iti and undermine National's plans for him...


    Hmmm. Don't you hate it when your attempts at irony sound like actual opinions from talkback?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 264 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Boot camps? Cracks me up. How to outsource physical discipline and yelling at your kids.

    Um, Ben, that's really as silly as saying if I ever have a violent and unmanageable manic episode that a term in a psychiatric ward is just a way to "outsource" the kind of neglect and abuse that (sadly) is far from unknown in the history of mental health services in NZ.

    Then again, I do hope The DomPost isn't going to headline coverage of any party's mental health funding policy with a loaded term like "loony bin". Wouldn't bet the (funny) farm on it, though.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Tough on crime, tough on the courses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    But Youth is a cunning demographic for National to target. They can't vote, so they are the perfect whipping boy.

    Precisely. According to Key, it seems that Brash's biggest mistake was that Maori could vote. He's just as committed to divisive hate campaigns as his predecessor.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    He's just as committed to divisive hate campaigns as his predecessor.

    And we're off...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Um, Ben, that's really as silly as saying if I ever have a violent and unmanageable manic episode that a term in a psychiatric ward is just a way to "outsource" the kind of neglect and abuse that (sadly) is far from unknown in the history of mental health services in NZ.

    Are you comparing itinerant youths to violent psychiatric patients? Clearly the second need specialist care.

    I don't think boot camps are always bad, any more than I think smacking is always bad. But I do think it's mostly bad, and you need a pretty good reason to dump a kid in one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I'm not a fan of bootcamp training for troubled youth.

    Back in 1993, I was an unemployed school-leaver on the dole (yay!). I was kinda happy spending my days writing, doing a couple of drama courses, student radio stuff, and obsessing over music.

    But Ken, my randomly selected case manager at NZ Employment Service (the predecessor of Work & Income), wanted me to go the army bootcamp thing that was the cool new thing for unemployed youth.

    I did not want to spend however many weeks it was away from home, being yelled at by some army guy, so I told him that I'd rather do something based in Hamilton, and that seemed to please him. He ordered me upstairs to check out my options (result: I hadn't failed School Certificate, so I didn't qualify for any other courses).

    10 years later I was again on the dole, but this time Work & Income actually had a useful course with real-life skills that helped me get off the couch, metaphorically speaking.

    I'm sure that basic training in the army can help some people, but wouldn't it be better to have something that more specifically addresses the needs of those people?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I've always thought that if you are going to make anything compulsory for youth, it should be sport while they are at school.

    Back in MY day sport WAS practically compulsory, insofar as not playing rugby was an opt-out process rather than an opt in. I was shocked to discover not so long ago that the whole school rugby team competition thing was only a shadow of its former glory - and not just rugger, all sports at school. Appalling.

    And compulsory school sport would (literally) reduce some of the obesity problems in kids today as well.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Are you comparing itinerant youths to violent psychiatric patients? Clearly the second need specialist care.

    And clearly (at least to me), there are going to be some young offenders for whom a (figurative) boot in the arse and a shame-inducing dressing down isn't going to work. Don't think most Labour MPs and supporters would disagree with that proposition either.

    I don't think boot camps are always bad, any more than I think smacking is always bad. But I do think it's mostly bad, and you need a pretty good reason to dump a kid in one.

    Fair argument (and not one I disagree with BTW), and one that's much more worth having than Idiot/Savant's vapouring about "divisive hate campaigns".

    And before anyone says I would say that -- being a flithy Tory and all -- I intend to do my calming breathing exercises for at least an hour before Helen Clark opens her mouth tomorrow. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    maybe the lack of sport stuff is because of the lack of volunteer coaches. changes in lifestyles + teachers having too much other stuff to do means that schools seem to find it hard to get decent coaches to develop the competitive sports teams. shouldn't sports bodies be funding some of that (ie sports waikato & the like)? or are they doing it already?


    boot camp? a much better option is the trial youth justice facility that has been set up in hamilton, called te hurihanga. this is a residential facility where young offender are given support, education/training and counselling. they spend 6 months at the residential facility, then get another 6 months of intensive support at home and a final 6 months of lower level support. their families have to sign up and commit to supporting the young person as well. to top it off, stephen tindall has stepped up and guaranteed these young people a job at the warehouse to ensure that they don't end up unemployed. it's a brilliant programme, with wonderful staff.

    but wouldn't you know it, the local national MP has been a vocal opponent, and has done his best to support the NIMBY group in the community. i have yet to hear him say one positive thing about the programme or the facility.

    maybe they think a youth rehabilitation programme is not worth doing unless the young people are made to suffer...

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Hayes,

    Heh, surely it's common knowledge that there's more to Bangkok than amazing history, art, architecture and shopping?

    Yeah, but I still feel bad laughing about anyone in the sex trade. ARGH! THE PC NAZIS HAVE ME IN THEIR PINKO EMBRACE!

    I think Key may have miscalculated here. Too much easy ammo for Labour:

    Martin Lee Anderson was sent to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office boot camp on Jan. 5 for a probation violation. A surveillance video showed guards kicking and punching him after he collapsed while exercising on his first day at the camp, and he died at a hospital early the next day.

    A noted pathologist who observed Monday’s 12-hour autopsy on behalf of Anderson’s family said it was clear the teen did not die from sickle cell trait, as the medical examiner for Bay County had determined, or from any other natural causes.

    .....

    Anderson entered the camp for a probation violation for trespassing at a school after he and his cousins were charged with stealing their grandmother’s car from a church parking lot. He was in his first day at the boot camp when he collapsed during exercises and then was seen on the tape being struck and kicked by several guards.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11823529/

    So they're being used as an early intervention for petty crime? Perfect! That'll stop the damn devil tagging!

    Now I'm not saying the above is widespread in those camps, but I do think it'll be fairly simple for Labour to portray boot camps as at least having the potential for horrific outcomes.

    Since Apr 2007 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    I don't know if I'd call it a divisive hate campaign so much as a bit of unimaginative button pressing. Mainly it offends for its lack of creativity and imagination. I mean, sure - all political announcements are looking for a populist angle, but they ought to at least have the illusion of actually realistically addressing the problem rather than JUST being a knee-jerk reaction.

    I mean 3 month Camps for Youth? Run by the army? Seriously? And while Craig may find Boot Camps to be a bit rhetorical - reading John's speech it sure sounds like he's describing boot camps to me.

    And while Craig gives it a 7/10 - and I'm sure he'll grace us all with his thoughts in due time, I can't say I agree. First quarter is a run down of various economic issues, interest rates etc. Serious issues, no doubt about it. Then gives a number of bullet points which basically say: 'we are going to fix all those problems and make New Zealand teh awesome'. Not one single skerich of detail about how.

    Oh no - there was one: 'a regular programme of ongoing tax cuts'. In case anyone needs that translated, it means: 'announce some tax cuts for middle earners at election year, while in the quiet times/decent polls making steadily increasing tax cuts for higher wage earners and hope the media don't make too much of it'.

    And then the next two thirds are about youth offending. Creating army run bases for potentially problematic youth? Seriously? THAT'S the big answer.

    It wasn't just nonsensical for a state of the nation speech but I would find that a bit spurious even for a drunken conversation at a pub.

    PS I actually quite liked the voucher thing, but only if it's done well. Sending youth to no hoper training sessions for tedious no hoper jobs is not going to discourage them from a life of crime.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    So that was it? His State of the Nation speech? Boot camps for young people, slightly tougher sentences for those under 16, enforced parental classes if your kid has been offending, an extended apprenticeship scheme beyond the existing one?

    All noble-enough things that I'm not complaining about but hardly a significant program for change. Maybe I'm just hoping too much but Mr key - do something bold and interesting that makes me think a significant difference will be made. I need it if I am to vote in a relatively untested and unknown leader.

    That's twice now (National conference early last year and this) that I've been so underwhelmed by the policy platform that came out. Admittedly I haven't seen major groundbreaking forward policy out of Labour either but at least I have their track record to look to.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    He's just as committed to divisive hate campaigns as his predecessor.

    Rolls eyes.

    If you want to find a valid platform to attack Key then I'd suggest looking into the detail of his policy. This speech was almost certainly written in response to the events of the last ten days or so (the Nats were leaking a totally different theme at the start of the month) so its probably policy on the hoof.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

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