Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Tidbits ahoy

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  • BenWilson,

    Boot camps seem to me a way to seem to be doing something. The underlying problem is unemployment for the unqualified, for which the main solution is access to education. Making imaginary work running around and taking out a good drill sergeant to do it, is mostly squandering human energy.

    I'm sure quite a few kids do benefit from it, and it makes yet another part of the tapestry of our education system. But making it compulsory? I'd be surprised if National is even contemplating it - it's much more likely to be a very convenient metaphor for all the Nation's ills. "What we need is a good kick up the arse. We're gonna put all the slackers through boot camp". In practice, boot camp will have just as many people in it as it used to, but we'll all feel comfortable with it as a threat for our naughty children. Because the yet-to-be-PM mentions it frequently, the threat will seem more credible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I don't want to jump and down in support of Key, and I'm not.

    But everyone's discussing 'boot camps', where if you look at his actual speech (here, I presume this is fairly accurate as to what he said), the word 'boot' doesn't appear once. The word 'camp' appears once:

    I want to make one thing clear, however. Fresh Start Programmes are not going to be some sort of short-term camp run by a tyrannical sergeant-major, which attempts to scare kids straight. What I'm talking about is a much more modern approach that tackles the underlying causes of criminal offending. I want to take the effective elements of army-type training and combine them with the most advanced expertise in youth offending and rehabilitation that New Zealand has to offer.

    Of course the headline on stuff talks about 'boot camps'. I wonder if the TV news will use the words tonight as well.

    Whether or not this is good policy, it'd be helpful if everyone in the media (and on here) could talk about what he actually said, rather than... y'know. What the media have transmogrified it into.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

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

    They do indeed, cause u missed da point. The main joke-butts in the sex trade are the punters, and they can still be laughed at with impunity. It may be legal to pay for sex but that doesn't mean it's not still mighty embarrassing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Hayes,

    Dammit. The one time I take the Herald at its headline/story face value, I get burned. Never again.

    Thanks Kyle.

    Point remains tho - Labour is going to have a fairly easy time of it making these unpopular, I feel.

    Since Apr 2007 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Kyle, a boot is a boot, whether Key wants to call it a Fresh Start or not.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Snowy,

    "divisive hate campaigns" are the sine qua non of Crosby Textor, what else would you expect?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I've heard rumours that the Nat Party comms team put quite a few noses out of joint with the way they handled the media leading up to the speech. 'Boot Camp!' might be a bit of blow-back from that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I'm also curious to see how organisations like Family First deal with this concept of the state packing kids off to compulsory boot camp (or whatever), given that there anti-smacking campaign revolves around warning parents that CYFS might take their kids away from them if they hit them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    I was under the impression that a boot camp was simply a camp run by the army? Key says, quite specifically, that the camps would be run by the army, so... I don't understand why anyone could say this is a misrepresentation by the media. Unless I'm missing something?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    To be fair to Key, he has been totally vague about what would be involved in the Fresh Start Programs. It could be a good idea, if any details ever get released we could make an informed prediction.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    To be fair, Key made clear he didn't envisage Fresh Start as a matter of sergeant-majors scaring kids all the time. And if they're really going to put the resources into it (which will mean hiring more of the dreaded public servants, even if you outsource most of the direct training) then I think that's a good thing.

    The trick will be to present it to the Sensible Sentencing crowd as a bloody great crackdown (a return to National Service, perhaps) and to the soft vote as a genuine outreach.

    But the more I look at the train-or-lose-your-benefit stuff, the more it looks like a crock to me. It adds relatively little to existing options, and the fact is that many young people on the invalids' benefit aren't technically "too sick to work" but are there because neither schools or workplaces can cope with them. Ditto the "lost tribe" of 6000 kids not enrolled at school. I don't see a disability strategy in there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    And we're off...

    Oh aren’t we indeed……sigh

    I want to take the effective elements of army-type training and combine them with the most advanced expertise in youth offending and rehabilitation that New Zealand has to offer.

    This presumes that there is something about “army-type training” that is of value in rehabilitation. Either Key doesn’t know what he is talking about or he is deliberately playing to the crowd. It ain’t about training it’s about achievement stupid……hence they could just as easily do outdoor training or whatever.

    But its the vouchers things that gets up my nose:

    “I’m only on this course because I want to get the money…..” Lets fill HE and FE with more people who are only there for the money. Local Polytechs will end up running mickey mouse/dump courses that can’t be failed and don’t really do much educating either. Oh wait a minute whats this at AUT….

    Compulsory sport - don't even go there its worse than boot camp.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    From the American Heritage Dictionary, via dictionary.com:

    boot camp
    n.

    1. A training camp for military recruits.
    2. A correctional facility that uses the training techniques applied to military recruits to teach usually youthful offenders socially acceptable patterns of behavior.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 264 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    Sorry - my point: the media is perfectly entitled to use 'boot camp' as shorthand; definition no.2 is bang-on what Key is proposing, surely?

    Sure, a dictionary definition doesn't capture the negative emotional connotations. But I'm sure the same could be said for the highly loaded "anti-smacking"...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 264 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I've heard rumours that the Nat Party comms team put quite a few noses out of joint with the way they handled the media leading up to the speech.

    Danyl:

    As often as not, 'put some ice on it, and get over your good self' is an entirely appropriate response. But if you're going to be a tease, and hold out on the good Wellywood dish, who knows? :)

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle, a boot is a boot, whether Key wants to call it a Fresh Start or not.

    I was under the impression that a boot camp was simply a camp run by the army? Key says, quite specifically, that the camps would be run by the army, so... I don't understand why anyone could say this is a misrepresentation by the media.

    Key mentions in the speech Project K, Big Brother, iwi-based services, "We'll ensure there's a range of programmes available that cater to the individual needs of the offenders and their whanau", Foundation for Youth Development. He says that Fresh Start will have a 3 month residency period at a NZ army base involving both the army and experts in youth rehabilitation (out of a year). Fresh Start is clearly one of the options that he is talking about, not the only one. He doesn't say that I saw how a youth offender would end up in one and not the other, but presumably this would be ordered by the court, probably in negotiation with youth workers and the family/whanau.

    I can't see where he says it's run by the army, but I haven't read it all and it's entirely logical that the 3 months period at least would be run by the army, in consultation with whoever was running the Fresh Start programme.

    Key clearly distinguishes in the speech that it wouldn't be military style training with sgt majors yelling at the youth offenders. He then specifically points out Graeme Dingle as having the expertise to develop this programme. He lists umpteen things (including NCEA credits) which the army would have nothing to do with.

    I can see why the media has jumped on it, and I'd guess National probably isn't discouraging the label. It's just misleading at best.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Mark wrote:

    Sorry - my point: the media is perfectly entitled to use 'boot camp' as shorthand

    Indeed they are - just as, as I pointed out, the DomPost's sub-editors are quite 'entitled' to use 'booby hatch' and 'nutters' as headline shorthand for psychiatric wards and the mentally ill. I can think of at least half a dozen reasons why it doesn't on the news pages except in direct quotes.

    Sure, a dictionary definition doesn't capture the negative emotional connotations. But I'm sure the same could be said for the highly loaded "anti-smacking"...

    It can, and has by Sue Bradford, Helen Clark, Cindy Kiro and numerous contributors to PA among many others. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I don't think Fairfax NZ makes a point of hiring people who are utterly insensible to the fact that languages connotates and well denotates. Or do you seriously want to argue with me that THREE DIE IN CRASH is intended to be read the same way as HOLIDAY CARNAGE CONTINUES!

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

  • Rich of Observationz,

    In England, they stopped dole payments for 16-18 year olds a while back and the result is lots of teenaged beggars to go with the usual streetlife that everywhere has. I guess this would have the same effect - or they going to start arresting vagrants and throwing them in Camps?

    Having some sort of physical training for child hoodlums gets tried frequently - apart from it being a vehicle for child abuse by the guards (what better job for a child abuser than a place where abusing children is part of the job description), the main effect is to produce fit thugs who can outrun the police.

    I'd take an opposite approach to training thugs and lock them in a TV room with an endless supply of burgers. They'd leave jail obese, to slow to do well in fights and with a reasonable chance of an early death from diabetes.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    Or do you seriously want to argue with me that THREE DIE IN CRASH is intended to be read the same way as HOLIDAY CARNAGE CONTINUES!

    Not at all Craig - especially when emotionally manipulative language is my day-to-day occupation. My point was less about how the media choose to frame something, and more about how it doesn't matter that John Key never said "boot camp" and Sue Bradford never said "anti-smacking" - opponents will hear them say it anyway.

    Actually, in the case of "boot camps", the "let the Army sort 'em out" demographic will hear Key say it and rally behind him, even if what he's actually proposing is something much more sensible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 264 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I can see why the media has jumped on it, and I'd guess National probably isn't discouraging the label. It's just misleading at best.

    Yeah, I guess it's more headline. It's only one small prong of a bunch of policy hints. Which themselves are only a small prong of the total policy of the party. Which is in itself only a hint at what will actually happen after coalition negotiations conclude.

    But I think the dogwhistle is nice and clear - no tolerance for yoof crime. The timing is right, and there's no demographic that has to miss out on this one (who can vote).

    Personally I was pretty surprised to hear that only 8,400 16/17 year olds are not studying or working. When you start looking for work after having chosen not to study, you're probably seeking some sort of career. Naturally this kind of option takes longer to find than part time work picking fruit etc. There will always be some unemployed people between jobs, and when you're that young it's a bit early to make a call about whether you are 'long term' about it. There's also a heck of a lot of under the table work going on for kids.

    Really doesn't seem all that serious to me. If the other option is that they are in a back-breaking go-nowhere job for peanuts, I can't see that's much better for the economy generally, or the kids.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Snowy,

    it's dog-whistling alright. i should know, it hurts my ears.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    From memory 'Boot Camp' was a term originally used for military training camps.

    It's redolent of the old days of compulsory military training. I don't think its quite what is being proposed here. I suspect with this they get to sit around and talk about their feelings a lot more.

    Incidentally, Annette King has just put out a statement saying itsLabour's policy anyway, and that the teenage problems we have are all because of Ruth Richardson's 'mother of all budgets'.

    What price dog whistle?

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Sure, a dictionary definition doesn't capture the negative emotional connotations. But I'm sure the same could be said for the highly loaded "anti-smacking"...

    No, that's what Sue Bradford initially called it herself, when the bill was drawn out of the private members' ballot. This was before she realised the negative connotations of it.

    I've still got the press release she put out at the time.

    In fact, you can see it on the Greens web site here: http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/PR6778.html

    The idea that the term 'anti-smacking' is spin term coined by Family First and their supporters is spin in itself.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Just to skip back a few pages...

    He's not even PJ O'Rourke.

    My favourite PJ O'Rourke quote - actually the title of a chapter in one of his books:

    How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wingwang Pulled and Not Spill Your Drink

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    81C said:

    Either Key doesn’t know what he is talking about or he is deliberately playing to the crowd.

    Since he is a politician and all, my money would be on (b).

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

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