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Weekly Media Roundup

August 17, 2017 at 3:55 PM

After a year of data-driven social reform, National heads to boot camp

Boot camps, parental fines… how on earth do these policies fit the social policy framework of the National government in 2017? Simon Wilson takes a look at what the prime minister and his cabinet colleagues have been saying this year.


National’s plan to send children to boot camps is their most anti-evidence policy yet

National today announced a policy package aimed at preventing youth crime, including a plan to send ‘youth offenders’ to boot camps. The Morgan Foundation head researcher and Spinoff Parents science expert Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explains why this is a terrible idea.


Opinion: Let's try valuing our young people instead of hiding them away in boot camps

OPINION: National has announced plans to create a new category of 'serious youth offender', including a compulsory military programme where youth can be sent for a year, and pecuniary fines on parents for their children's behaviour.

When law and order predictably rears its head in the run up to just about every election, parties often try to outdo each other to appeal to the mythical creature that is public opinion. Perspective can be hard to come by.

So let's get some perspective for a minute: Over the last three years youth crime has been at the lowest point it's ever been in 25 years of available statistics. That's right, the lowest point.


Boot camps won’t sell politics to young people

How can we make politics appeal to young people? Not through National's old-school boot camp policy, writes Max Harris

Six years ago, a few of us involved with JustSpeak – a criminal justice group led by and for young people, speaking up for a more just Aotearoa – organised a community forum on boot camps for young offenders. The people who came to the forum overwhelmingly opposed boot camps, and we wrote a report after the forum noting the lack of evidence supporting the effectiveness of boot camps as youth justice tools.

So I felt a sense of déjà vu – and a deep disappointment – when I heard on Sunday that boot camps formed a key part of the National Party’s Youth Justice Policy. 


My son will never be classed as a Young Serious Offender – and that’s not fair

The National Party’s plan for ‘Young Serious Offenders’ is causing outrage among youth justice advocates. JustSpeak director and pregnant mum of one Katie Bruce asks us to imagine if it was our child being given this label.


Maori Party: National's boot camp plan an 'attack on Maori and Pasifika children'

The Maori Party has vowed to oppose National's plan to crack down on youth offending - saying the proposals are "an attack on Maori and Pasifika children".

National's support party issued a press release this afternoon, strongly condemning the election-year policy that was announced yesterday.


Has National gone Full Metal Jacket?

Is bootcamp the government's solution for hardened young criminals?

National plans to solve the problem of serious youth offending by sending people to a remote, army-run boot camp for a year.

But opponents of the idea say similar military style camps have tried and failed to work with vulnerable children - at times with disastrous results.


Jarrod Gilbert: When it comes to police, we need a revolution

Even when they're not knocking on your door, we should be concerned by police numbers.

In the thick of an election campaign, there will be some wild policies bandied around with regard to crime and justice - don't get me started on boot camps - and a sober debate around police numbers is hardly likely to set the electorate alight. But it ought. That's if we are to attempt a radical rethinking of what policing means - and I believe we should.


Months-long delays for rape victims' ACC support

People who have been raped or sexually assaulted are sometimes having to wait months to access ACC-funded specialist support services.

Some counsellors and therapists in Auckland have lengthy waiting lists for appointments and others are not taking any new patients.


Family Court using discredited US theory

The Chief District Court Judge and the Principal Family Court Judge need to review the application of the law in the Family Court.

A series of reports and judgments in the past year has opened to public view the following disturbing aspects of the court’s practice.


Mum’s plea: ‘My kids are safe in their home’

Newsroom's investigation into without-notice child uplift warrants carried out by uniformed police, sometimes under the cover of night, has shocked New Zealand. Melanie Reid shares a letter she says is a typical account of what families involved in the process have experienced.


Reforms to protect children veer off course

Stories about children being removed from their homes as part of family law separation processes also cast the spotlight on the attitude of the state towards removal of children in other realms of New Zealand law, writes the University of Otago's Dr Emily Keddell.


'How do you think it's going to affect their world view?'

Nearly 1100 students need urgent psychological help after having to deal with murder, drugs, alcohol, and poverty at home, Northland principals say.

A survey of 110 Te Tai Tokerau principals identified 1089 students that needed urgent psychological help.


Susan Devoy: Why I’m telling the UN about NZ’s immoral inaction on state care abuse

‘This is not my New Zealand.’ Ahead of her speech to the UN this week, the Race Relations Commissioner calls on politicians to stand on principle and do right by the victims of institutional abuse.


New national network for sexual assault services

Sexual health workers are hoping a new support network will increase the number of sexual assault survivors accessing help.

The Sexual Assault Assessment and Treatment Service network - or Saats-link - has just been launched after a two-year review of services.

It has been funded by police, ACC and the Health Ministry.


Kyle MacDonald: Will teaching resilience in our schools work?

The problem ultimately is not with resilience, it's with the way it is increasingly touted as a modern day panacea and a cure all. Even as a solution to problems ultimately way beyond an individuals control.

Resilience, by definition focusses on individuals, and in practice has become the new version of "personal responsibility".

It's for this reason I can't stand it.


Are there any good choices when you live on a low income?

Last week ActionStation and the Morgan Foundation launched Liz and Sam’s story. Since then, the pick-a-path game based on the lives of New Zealand families living on low incomes has been played close to 16,000 times. Its co-creator Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explains the two years of research underpinning the game.


Union 'totally shocked' at mental health pay equity warning

The Ministry of Health has written to district health boards telling them not to pay their mental health workers the same as aged-care and disability support staff.


Social workers quit ahead of Oranga Tamariki launch

Child, Youth and Family had an exodus of senior social workers in the months leading up to the launch of its replacement, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.

Documents released to RNZ show the number of social workers leaving the organisation jumped 60 percent in the year before the new agency took over in April, at a time when record numbers of children were being put in state care.


'It's wrong that you have to commit a crime to get better help'

A convicted knife attacker with a long history of mental illness wants the Government to implement mental health check-ups in high schools – and the Government is listening.

Keegan Jones, 23, was sentenced to three years in prison back in 2014 after he held a knife to a taxi driver's throat and stole his cab.

He has spent the past 10 years in the mental health system, including the criminal forensic unit at the Henry Bennett Centre in Waikato, where he received the help he needed.


Mental health screening in schools 'won't work without extra support'

A multi-million-dollar screening process to identify students with mental health problems is well-meaning but futile without increased specialist support, school counsellors say.

The government has said it will put $23 million into pilot schemes to universally screen and identify troubled students, and provide them with fast, easy access to help so it does not get in the way of their learning.


Taylor Swift groping trial draws attention to hidden outrage

Taylor Swift's allegation that a former morning radio host reached under her skirt and grabbed her backside during a photo op is bringing attention to a common but largely hidden outrage for many women, one that few report.

A 2014 survey found nearly 1 in 4 women in the United States had been groped or brushed up against in a public place by a stranger at least once.


Fight night to fight back for women and children at Women's Refuge

Daniella Smith was no stranger to confronting danger in the boxing ring during her illustrious career.

But nothing she faced in the ring comes close to the threat to her safety when she came to the aid of a friend being threatened by a man holding a sharp knife in her face.


Stoned 16-year-old rapes child, 6, while babysitting

A 16-year-old high on cannabis has been jailed for the rape of a 6-year-old girl he was babysitting.

The offending happened in 2015 but the man was only tried for the sexual assault this year.

Christchurch Court News today reported the horrific story and how the victim's family have forgiven him and hope the now 18-year-old can get the help he needs to rehabilitate.


Grandmother Kathleen Cooper found guilty of murdering grandson

An Auckland grandmother has been found guilty of murder after she killed her grandson by throwing him down a hallway. 

Kathleen Cooper, 65, has been on trial for murder at the High Court in Auckland for the past three weeks after killing her two-year-old grandson Jermain Ngawhau in 2015. 


Handbook gives advice to migrant and refugee youth escaping domestic abuse

A handbook for migrant and refugee youth will be hitting the shelves of schools and public libraries for the first time. 

Break Free was created by Shakti Youth after the organisation realised there was a need for greater long-term support for young migrants and refugees who had left abusive homes or safe houses.


How many revelations of and reports into the abuse of vulnerable people in state care have to surface before calls for a formal inquiry are heeded?

The most recent report was into the abuse of people with learning and other disabilities in state care.  It was ordered by the Human Rights Commission and conducted by researchers at the Donald Beasley Institute.


Kiwi children could be deported from Australia

An Australian committee will soon report back on whether to allow the deportation of under 18-year-old migrants, including New Zealanders, who commit crimes. What impact could this have on Trans-Tasman relations?


Twelve Questions with Professor Peter O'Connor

Professor Peter O'Connor teaches theatre in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, dementia wards and disaster zones. He talks about the power of story at the Going West book festival next month.

You've addressed family violence and abuse with more than 60,000 intermediate school children in your Everyday Theatre programme. How does that work?

We get kids to play a game with a fictional family where a young boy is getting bashed by his dad. His mum pretends she doesn't know. Friends don't know what to do. In an average week our four actor-teachers work with around 500 kids and and lots of children seek help as a result. It sounds corny but we know we've saved lives in the 14 years we've been doing this in decile 1 to 3 schools.


NZ 'not catching up' to social housing need

The Salvation Army estimates the country needs to build a minimum of 2000 social houses a year for at least the next decade just to meet demand.

Its study, 'Taking Stock', found the country's social housing stock needs to grow from 82,000 to more than 100,000 in the next decade.

The report's author, Alan Johnson, said another 2000 a year was the bare minimum that needed to be constructed and half of those were needed in Auckland.


Housing crisis hits kids' schoolwork

Children are falling behind other students in their schoolwork as rising rents and a housing crisis force record numbers of low-income families to change schools.

New data shows that almost 36,000 children changed schools last year, including 3400 who moved at least twice in the same year.


Category: News Media