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Bully Camps not the “Answer” for youth

Written By: - Date published: 6:34 pm, February 21st, 2013 - 61 comments
Categories: paula bennett - Tags: , ,

Boot camps by their nature are bully camps.  I know some young people enjoy the test of their physical skills but for those that don’t, they work by psychological pressure.  I haven’t read the text book that says kids thrive being shouted at, marched about the place and having their heads shaved, and what are we teaching them about the State?  That we accept bullying?  That the Government reserve the right to humiliate you?

I had a great group of young men come into the office Tuesday.  They are part of a programme run by the Wellington Kindergarten Association called Y-Men.  The Association gives them a job in a kindergarten accompanied by an intensive training programme.  This programme also gets funding from WINZ and other sources.  They are lads that have been unemployed for some-time and while all of good character (you have to be to be in a Kindergarten), they need some support to get into good jobs and move on.

They are employed above teacher ratios so they are not cheap labour and they are paid a proper wage.  The kindergartens that have them working, appear to love having them there.  Two goals are met – firstly these young men get a real programme that supports them to plan a future (no one leaves without a plan and the KA follows up on the implementation) and many decide to go into teaching (meeting the goal of the KA to get more young men into early childhood teaching).  7 of the 12 in the group I had in have now begun formal teacher training and the Association continues to support them throughout their study.  A new talent pool of young mainly Maori and Pacific men is being created in our teaching service.

The day before, I was interviewed about my objections to the boot camps that WINZ is sending young unemployed people on.  The Sunday Star Times had a story of how two of the defence force tutors were on suspension for assaulting and insulting the young people attending.  It should be a national scandal.  Not only are we not providing enough real opportunities for our young adults to get a good job, we are then, after the hardship of 6 months unemployment, sending them on state run boot camps and humiliating and assaulting them!  Paula Bennett is paying for this service!

The contrast with the Y-men programme, both in terms of results and approach couldn’t be greater.

I was once an undercover Boot Camp recruit.  No not really.  I went with a young person I know to a boot camp seminar that he had been required to attend.  It is fair to say I was the oldest one in the room by about 25 years.  I insisted on being allowed to attend despite “not being on the list”.  20 young people, in a room, heads down.  Don’t catch anyones eye!

If I had been running it I would have got them all talking to each other – what they were doing, what they wanted to do, what they thought of WINZ and life generally.  But no – they were told to watch a video (about 20 minutes maybe) which showed some fun and some not so fun activities (depending on your interests), which had some graduates saying how great is was and which showed activities which apparently they didn’t do in the Hutt course (rafting, climbing – just about everything as far as I could tell was not actually on the programme).  They shaved their heads.

At the end, the helpful facilitator said she had anticipated all their questions – could they smoke?  Yes they could.  Could they have cell phones (can’t remember the answer).  Up went my hand to ask if the programme was actually voluntary – something omitted from the Q & A thus far.  It was, but those that did not go would have this marked on their record.  I was unable to get clarity on what this meant – but clearly it was a threat (they were saving the assaults until when you got there).

I did ask what else WINZ could offer if one did not want this hair cut/frog march/smoking/non rafting experience.  No answer was forthcoming and we were told to make another appointment if we wanted to discuss other options.

The contrast in the attitude these two WINZ funded programmes takes to these young New Zealand citizens is also extreme. One preserves their status as citizens with rights.  It is a programme filling a real market need but with intensive effort to put the young person’s needs first –  those needs include a wage, regular employment, training, career discussions and a range of study opportunities to fill learning gaps (driving, literacy, child development etc).  No one leaves without a plan and support – consideration of the young person is at the centre of the programme and that means it works.  The spin off for the Association is the second benefit – not the first.

On boot camps the graduates spill out into nothingness – back to WINZ – the promise that it will help you get a job was never going to be fulfilled – it was a time filler, funded by a Government that considers you the problem, rather than the failing  job market.  You even come out with your head shaved – a sure fire attraction to any employer.

We have a real problem in this country with how we regard our young people, particularly in my view, young men.  We fundamentally don’t believe or trust them. And more particularly we don’t make any plans for them.  As a recent guest of the CTU described it (Guy Standing) we give them no “shadow of a future”.  They have a shadow of past and present – but can’t see where they are going or even where they might be able to go.  As Guy said without that shadow, they have no reason to be motivated and every reason to behave in a way that we consider opportunist. Shouting and marching them about is not the answer – abusing them and assaulting them is a crime and the police should investigate.

The Y-Men got talking about the work experience they had all had.  I showed them the You Tube clip we launched about the death of Ken Callow .  This got them talking about the jobs they had had before the programme.  It wasn’t a pretty picture.  All agreed with Guy Standing that their working life previously was dominated with time needed to find work rather than do work.  The programme was giving them real options.

These young men have a story to tell collectively that is much more powerful than any blog  would be.  No-one is listening at the moment and all in all the situation is very serious indeed.

61 comments on “Bully Camps not the “Answer” for youth”

  1. lprent 1

    Helen asked for a author login so she can blog about some of the things she sees around NZ. We’re a labour movement site. How could we refuse the current head of the Council of Trade Unions? Especially one as active as Helen is on all kinds of social media (I like her facebook commentary myself).

    Treat her with some respect and address the post rather than the author. Otherwise I may be forced to address the commentators who overstep the bounds. I prefer to keep authors rather than trolls.

    BTW: Good post Helen.

  2. karol 2

    Very good post, Helen. I share your distaste for “Bully” camps.

    I have taught young children in the UK, and had one or two young men working as assistants who were excellent. Most went on to apply for teacher training.

    SO are these militaristic camps for males only?

    Helen: We have a real problem in this country with how we regard our young people, particularly in my view, young men. We fundamentally don’t believe or trust them. And more particularly we don’t make any plans for them.

    Actually I think this country has an equal problem with the way young women are regarded, but their tends to be some difference in the ways young men and women are regarded. I think the particular problem is with attitudes to young people from relatively low income backgrounds. So, for instance, a lot of the punitive social security laws are targeting young single mothers.

  3. infused 3

    [deleted]

    [lprent: A weeks ban. My god how long has it been since I last banned you? 2009? ]

    • karol 3.1

      infused, you didn’t read Lynn’s comment above then?

      • ropata 3.1.1

        “The world would be a far far better place if … assholes, such as [infused], realised they were afflicted with acute peotillomania, and sought out proper psychiatric help.”

    • Anne 3.2

      Welcome to The Standard Helen Kelly. I look forward to reading your posts. I see from the above mindless comment that the NAct government and their lackeys are indeed worried…

    • emergency mike 3.3

      Surely that brainless insult lacking even the pretence of trying to address the OP in defiance of lprent’s explicit warning will get you the ban you’re lamely hoping for infused. Good luck! Really.

    • One Tāne Huna 3.4

      On the contrary, Infused. Ms. Kelly’s points are compelling and well made.

      The treatment meted out to the young men at WINZ was pretty much exactly the right wing trope of everything that’s wrong with what you might call government “interference”, and yet you are strangely silent on that score.

      Raise the double standard, eh?

    • bad12 3.5

      Another one self destructs on the mountain of it’s own stupidity…

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Time to ensure that society creates substantial places and roles for young men in our society, and practical hands-on ways to fulfill the expectations that we have of them, and that they have of themselves.

  5. One Tāne Huna 5

    Great to see The Standard gain another author, especially such a talented one. 😀

  6. marsman 6

    Great Post Helen. Young men need support and guidance not bullying.

  7. DH 7

    Welcome Helen, nice to see you here….

    Boot camps aren’t that bad, sure there’s bullying to begin with but it’s not personal. At the end of it you’re getting pretty fit & starting to feel good about yourself. They are a complete waste of time though, as you say. For boot camps to achieve anything the participants would need to go straight into a meaningful job else the exercise is pointless.

    Those most unsuited to boot camps are the physically unco-ordinated, they never really come right & the instructors don’t ease off them. Most people can handle it ok.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Boot camps aren’t that bad, sure there’s bullying to begin with but it’s not personal.

      Uh, to the person being bullied, it’s always personal.

      Most people can handle it ok.

      And the minority who don’t, what about them?

      And do we really know that most handle it OK? There’s been no long term follow up done on these matters.

      • karol 7.1.1

        Indeed, CV. they may “handle it”. But what damage does it do in terms of attitude & learning that bullying and/or brutalisation is the way to go?

      • QoT 7.1.2

        Uh, to the person being bullied, it’s always personal.

        Nah, see, the point of your average military-style hierarchy-based bullying is to destroy your sense of individualism and autonomy. Then it can’t be personal ’cause you stop being a person.

    • Bastables 7.2

      Boot camps are asinine as they are drawing from a experience and a solution to integrate traditionally boys and young men into military organisations. A boot camp leading to nowhere is utterly vestigial.

      The fact that PTSD troops are finding it less than easy to reintegrate into a civil society should be a giant warning that trained soldiers are in fact not equipped without retraining and support to work at a “9to5″ job.

      A 9to5 job or even just surviving on the benefit gain nothing from partial immersion into Military culture.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      At the end of it you’re getting pretty fit & starting to feel good about yourself.

      Ah, no, bullying invariably does the reverse.

  8. Descendant Of Sssmith 8

    In my experience it’s the bullied when young people who have problems managing violence in their lives later.

    The bullies move on into different phases of their lives and many don’t give their bullying a second thought.

    Violence whether physical or psychological generally begats violence.

    • DH 8.1

      People are over-analysing. I’m sure there would be some genuine bullying, get bullies everywhere else & boot camps won’t be an exception. But for the most part the instructors are just pushing people’s limits. You hate the bastards to begin with but after about the third day the body starts adapting & it all gets easier. I’ve had worse ‘bullies’ in football coaches & gym instructor.

      The real bullying in camps like this is mostly among the inmates. Get a mixed bunch of youths together and you’ll always get the odd ones who want to be top dog & lord it over the weaker ones.

  9. chris73 9

    This post is one sided bollix (note I said the post not the author)

    As I’ve alluded to before I’ve actually been involved with LSV and YLS courses so I’ve seen them from start to finish (once they got inside camp to be fair) and I can say that most of the kids on these courses are drop-kicks.

    If you read through her post you could be forgiven for thinking that these courses are all marching and shouting, what she failed to mention was the learning aspect of the courses. We (myself and others) put them through basic english, math and various social learning courses (most of the recruits were woefully racist and had very narrow views)

    Yes there was PT and geez most of them needed it, these were kids and young people and most of them couldn’t even (slow) jog from barracks to the PT hanger (about 500 meters) however by the end of the course most were fitter and looked better.

    Kids like these generally learn by doing (like most of the armed forces) so these courses try to maximise that, yes it doesn’t suit all kids however by the end of the courses most of them have stopped being drop kicks and look like they might go onto something

    Of course what happens outside the courses is a different matter…

    • lprent 9.1

      …note I said the post not the author…

      I always note that distinction. Don’t get too paranoid. Infused up above didn’t even mention the topic of the post, just the author.

      He also got lucky. I did a search and found my records were a bit suspect. infused got really lucky. This one should have been 8 weeks.

    • bad12 9.2

      So how much basic English and Math can you teach anyone in the time of one of these courses,

      The fact that you see these kids as ‘dropkicks’ simply shows you have some form of superiority complex and why the hell anyone would have an obvious bigot like your comment shows you to be in charge of teaching anybody anything is beyond me,

      I mean seriously do you expect any of us here to believe such bullshit, by the sound of your comment it would appear that you wouldn’t see the odd kick up the arse as being in any way remiss as far as these kids go…

      • chris73 9.2.1

        They were drop-kicks by the way they talked, acted and their view points however by the end of the courses most of them had changed, of course what happened after the courses and they were back I don’t know.

        “why the hell anyone would have an obvious bigot like your comment shows you to be in charge of teaching anybody anything is beyond me”

        – Professionalism, I had a job to do and I did it to the best of my ability putting aside my own thoughts on the matter (and not to blow my own horn) and I did well based on the improvement shown in the classes.

        Do you think some teachers don’t have preconceived notions about kids in their classes?

        “I mean seriously do you expect any of us here to believe such bullshit”

        – Well yes because I’ve gone on about this subject a few times so its not like I’m bringing up new information

        “by the sound of your comment it would appear that you wouldn’t see the odd kick up the arse as being in any way remiss as far as these kids go…”

        – Fair call

        • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.1

          Do you think some teachers don’t have preconceived notions about kids in their classes?

          Not the good ones who see their job as bringing out the potential in a young person, instead of viewing them as losers.

          • chris73 9.2.1.1.1

            Teachers are only human and the ones I’ve talked to do have some preconceived notion especially when its the 3rd or 4th kid from the same family coming along.

            However its at that point I’d expect their basic professionalism to kick in

            • karol 9.2.1.1.1.1

              I have extensive teaching experience, and I have come across a few teachers that talk the way you have, chris73, when away from their classes. It has always made me sad, especially when it was in schools where the students were largely from low income households. It’s not the way I and many other teachers usually talk about our students. Most are more positive about and sensitive towards them.

              • chris73

                As I said thats when professionalism comes into it, you put aside your own personal feelings to do the job you’re supposed to do.

                • karol

                  And you think your underlying feelings (that don’t magically disappear) don’t show in your approach to the students and teaching?

                  • karol

                    PS: they do show in at least one way, that you actively supported and continued to work in the bully camps.

                  • chris73

                    As long as you’re honest with yourself and recognize your feelings than no I don’t think it does. Much like the lawyer that defends scumbags or the doctor treating well…a scumbag

                    • bad12

                      That depends of course who is deciding the definition of scumbag when such a tag is applied to any individual,

                      A quick poll of all those commenting here would probably after having viewed your comments in this post happily tag you with the very expletive you attach to those kids abused and assaulted on that course…

        • Murray Olsen 9.2.1.2

          The main compulsion I feel in teaching I do is to discover how best a particular individual may learn. This is much more of a challenge than writing them off as dropkicks and being happy when they can jog 500m, but if that’s the best you can do, so be it.
          Boot camps are an appallingly bad idea. If you wanted to design something to make young kids feel hopeless, you couldn’t do much better. The kindergarten training seems much more useful.
          More useful still would be some ideas to provide employment. A good start could be made by shortening the work week and sharing around what we already have, with a decent living wage for all.

          • chris73 9.2.1.2.1

            “The main compulsion I feel in teaching I do is to discover how best a particular individual may learn. This is much more of a challenge than writing them off as dropkicks and being happy when they can jog 500m, but if that’s the best you can do, so be it.

            My point was I viewed them at the start of the course as drop kicks and by the end of the course my viewpoint had changed because they had changed and they had changed because of the course which can’t be a bad thing.

            And as for the fitness yes I do think its shocking when young adults and teens can’t slow jog 500 meters without looking like they’re going to die.

            If they’re that unfit now what will they be like in 10, 20 or 30 years time?

            “Boot camps are an appallingly bad idea. If you wanted to design something to make young kids feel hopeless, you couldn’t do much better.”

            – Not true, some really enjoyed it, some got something out of it and some ended up enlisting (and yes some hated it)

            “More useful still would be some ideas to provide employment. A good start could be made by shortening the work week and sharing around what we already have, with a decent living wage for all.”

            – I disagree, unless you bump wage up to cover the shortfall

            • millsy 9.2.1.2.1.1

              Slow jog my arse Chris.

              The jog from the LSV barracks to the PT hall was *NOT* a slow jog. It was agony. And the PT instructors were more arsehole-ish than the NCO’s. Being made to to 5 press up because I didnt iron my PT shirt properly is not a way to enjoy an afternoon.

              Is that pretty boy PT instructor still there? He was the worst.

            • millsy 9.2.1.2.1.2

              I have to admit, that I enjoyed the course somewhat. Even if I was expected to do things that were more or less impossible (the physical).

              Another interesting things, I got heaps of respect from my fellow trainees, probably more so than any other peer group (even the people I work with).

    • tricledrown 9.3

      c73 1987 Ropa report the main reason for gangs prolificating is long term unemployment.
      Nationals policy is to make a fitter criminal when they need a job!

    • BLiP 9.4

      .

      dropkicks

      Nice attitude. Always good to get off to a positive start, eh? BTW, would you please stop beating and humiliating our young people. kthnxbai.

      • chris73 9.4.1

        Just to let you know I’ve never beaten a young person…probably have humiliated a young person by making them do press ups or going for a run (which I did as well)

    • millsy 9.5

      I did LSV back in 2005, and while some of the trainees were drop kicks, not all of them were, so I think that your blanket assumption is a bit nasty, though by the sounds of it, LSV sounds like something that the NZDF (or rather, its personell), would not be running if there was a choice. A lot were actually quite articulate and intelligent, things just got away from them that’s all. A lot of them probably should have been better off going to D and A programmes, given that they had been held hostage by their addiction.

  10. bad12 10

    ‘Fair call’ it says, the fact that you see the idea of it being a ‘fair call’ where anyone would remotely consider assaulting young people as somehow a normal part of their job description shows there is indeed something horribly remiss with the world, You, and this particular Government program in particular,

    Actually what i consider as bullshit is both your attitude and the fact that you expect anyone here to believe that you were conducting basic English and math courses in between abuse,assault and basic stand-over tactics, where-ever did you find the time, perhaps said basic English and math consisted of 1+1=2 and for English Duh,

    The fact that you, someone who happens to see physically kicking young kids around as a ‘fair call’ has been allowed anywhere near these youth would horrify anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence and the fact that you seem quite proud that you have managed to coerce, threaten,and assault such young people so as to have them suppress their natural behavior is abhorrent as is your view of them as ‘drop-kicks’,

    i can only wish that at some time along will come someone seeing you as a dropkick and meting out such treatment upon you so as to have you conform to their view of normalcy…

    • chris73 10.1

      Don’t make the “odd kick up the arse” anymore than it is also the fact I think it might not go amiss doesn’t mean I would’ve have done it.

      Remember the point I made about professionalism? That means I worked within the rules set down, as an example the recruits on the courses were treated a lot better than the recruits (who were of comparable age and mostly came from the same socioeconomic backgrounds) that enlisted.

      “in between abuse,assault and basic stand-over tactics”

      – I’m assuming it was late and you’re a bit over tired or emotional when you posted this so I’ll let that pass

      “The fact that you, someone who happens to see physically kicking young kids around as a ‘fair call’ has been allowed anywhere near these youth would horrify anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence and the fact that you seem quite proud that you have managed to coerce, threaten,and assault such young people so as to have them suppress their natural behavior is abhorrent as is your view of them as ‘drop-kicks’,”

      – Melodramatic much?

      “i can only wish that at some time along will come someone seeing you as a dropkick and meting out such treatment upon you so as to have you conform to their view of normalcy…”

      – They did, it was called basic training, however I listened to what the instructors were telling me so for me at least it wasn’t bad :)

      • bad12 10.1.1

        You have spent quite a bit of space and pixels to say very little, the only further information that you have imparted with this latest comment is the exposure of yourself as someone who having been minimally bullied in a basic training situation finds this perfectly normal behavior to inflict on others,

        That to me is the basic definition of a socio-path, who may not have personally inflicted the abuse,assault, and stand-over tactics but knows it to be part of the general means of extracting discipline and conformity from the group and leaves others to do the ‘wet work’ thus considering him/herself blameless but in reality as part of the over-all organization meting out such mistreatment is as much to blame for this as the individuals involved in the organization physically carrying out such acts of abuse, assault, and stand-over tactics upon those kids…

  11. Ed 11

    I am impressed that the Kindergarten Association and WINZ were able to work together to get this programme going – wherever the idea came from it is a credit to both organisations. I suspect it is teh sort of programme that could be put together around a number of different industries. A friend who is a builder regularly employs some school leavers for routine labour work (moving supplies for example onto a site where that requires person carrying, but also some basic setting up work for the job. They do some hard work, have a little bit of seeing where the timber / wallboard / roofing is going, and then get paid off – nice holiday money. Not surprisingly, some see that as something they would like to do and end up seeking work in the trade. Every little bit helps, but sadly the current governmetn has blinkers, and cannot see the return on investment from such programmes.

    • chris73 11.1

      I agree I think National (or when Labour get back in) should revamp the apprenticeship schemes and make it a viable option for school leavers (and older people as well)

  12. chris73 12

    Now just to set the cat amongst the pigeons I’m going to agree with most of you on here by saying I don’t think the military should be running these courses.

    The reason though is because of the time and money the military spends on these courses could be better spent in other areas.

    However reading such a one sided post maligning the hard work that was done and still being done by committed individuals deserves a rebuttal. Some of the instructors were training to be social workers at the same time as running the courses because they came from the same areas and wanted to help the youth.

    They, in a lot cases, volunteered to be there.

    You might not like what the military stands for but for the majority of people that go through military training it works, it makes the individual a better person.

    It might not work as well on LSV and YLS courses and I accept that but I won’t accept such a biased and one-sided diatribe without responding in kind.

    Again my comments and views are my own and are not reflective of the military or its personnel.

    • lprent 12.1

      I’d agree that it is a distinct waste of military time. Being coerced into volunteering to do such training has about a snowballs chance in hell of being effective. Sure there would be the odd success.

      But the true success rate would be probably less frequent as the odd person who in their own community discovers a really good employer or a liking for the proscriptions of religion or gets really lucky and teams up with the right life partner. The first is by far the most effective. Such a pity that bloody Paula Bennett is so useless at finding real work eh? She seems to waste all of her ministries time ineffectively trying everything avoiding doing any effective work and bashing beneficiaries for not being more efficient at finding jobs than WINZ or MED.

      When I volunteered for the army in the late 70’s, not so long after the end of conscription, I can remember the glee of the NCO’s had in training people who actually wanted to be there. The fantasy that boot camps are effective on lifting the aspirations of conscripts is just one of the unendearing traits of dumbarse orifices too far from actual work to actually realise how damn silly it is. John Key fits that mould rather well.

      • chris73 12.1.1

        I agree that the same money spent on “boot camp” courses would be better spent in trade-training/apprenticeship schemes…

        Maybe Labour can look at ramping it up when they’re next in power?

        • lprent 12.1.1.1

          Devotedly to be wished. They made a pretty good attempt last time around to restart the process (which had pretty much destroyed/disintegrated in the 90’s). But there is a hell of a scale difference between the two. Basically the money spent on boot camps is a face saving measure and a small fraction of what resources need to be spent on bringing kids to being productive.

          Moreover, many of the kids that are being put through boot camps just aren’t going to be top of the list for employers to take on as apprentices, or have any reasonable chance to go through tech training. Besides, after the disaster that most of them found school to be – there is usually little interest in off-work training until they get a bit older (which is why scrapping ACE was moronic…).

          They need entry level jobs available where they get a pay packet and don’t require too much initial client facing. Traditionally that role has been provided by the low-level manufacturing industry, infrastructure (eg railways) or forestry roles. But those roles are essentially not available any more because of decisions about the economy. It is pretty clear that this government is either totally uninterested or totally incapable (or both) in encouraging any of those.

  13. When was it decided that authoritarian disciplinarians were the substitute for decent male role models for our young men?

    No man using stand over tactics, wielding power through intimidation, has ever broken or destroyed the ‘me’ in my head. Not even come close. Maybe boot camps, worlds strictest parents and other such nonsense, do strengthen resolve and focus the mind, but from experience, probably not in the way a bully boy would expect.

    Chris, ever had a former pupil put dog shit in your lunch box in the staff room fridge? 😆
    Note to teachers sharing communal facilities. Don’t use those flashy label makers on your tupperware. For one it looks naff, and two, it takes all the guess work out of correctly identifying the target.

    More carrot, less stick or you end up with what you pay for.

    • chris73 13.1

      “When was it decided that authoritarian disciplinarians were the substitute for decent male role models for our young men?”

      – More like a case of no other option I’m guessing

      No man using stand over tactics, wielding power through intimidation, has ever broken or destroyed the ‘me’ in my head. Not even come close. Maybe boot camps, worlds strictest parents and other such nonsense, do strengthen resolve and focus the mind, but from experience, probably not in the way a bully boy would expect.

      – Remember that most of the posters on here are quite over the top in what they think happens at “boot camps” which is their term not mine (I’m guessing they’re thinking Full Metal Jacket-type experiences…)

      “Chris, ever had a former pupil put dog shit in your lunch box in the staff room fridge? 😆
      Note to teachers sharing communal facilities. Don’t use those flashy label makers on your tupperware. For one it looks naff, and two, it takes all the guess work out of correctly identifying the target.”

      – No but I wish I’d thought that when I was at school 😉

  14. “No but I wish I’d thought that when I was at school”

    Funniest thing is I almost did it to a former boss here before I took him to tribunal instead. I didn’t go through with it, not through some process of evolution, but because I felt sorry for the lawyer anointed lab technician that would be assigned to extract my dna for the ‘trial’ 😉

    “Remember that most of the posters on here are quite over the top in what they think happens at “boot camps” which is their term not mine (I’m guessing they’re thinking Full Metal Jacket-type experiences…)”

    By the numbers (which I’ve seen, but don’t have), boot camps don’t work, whatever techniques they are or are not employing.
    In the case of our government, either boot camps are as displayed in the media and election manifestos as hostile, harsh life lesson imparting, or they have no real purpose to exist. It’s the contraceptive pill youth policy equivalent for young men we’ve already collectively let down.

    “More like a case of no other option I’m guessing”

    Told you once, more carrot, less stick.

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    The restructure and upheavals at Fairfax should not be used as an opportunity to cut journalists’ terms and conditions, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Businesses have to adapt to new technologies and consumer demands and there is… ...
    2 days ago
  • McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal
    Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Nats break health and education spending promises
    National has outstanding promises of almost $1 billion to be spent on health, education and agriculture from the Future Investment Fund but has only $536 million left in the fund, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key and Bill… ...
    2 days ago
  • Manurewa youth leaders acknowledged
    The depth and breadth of leadership of youth throughout Manurewa, which has been recognized at the Youth Week Award ceremony held at Parliament this week, should make the community extremely proud, Manurewa Labour MP Louisa Wall says. “The 'Limitless Youth… ...
    2 days ago
  • Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair
    Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s… ...
    2 days ago
  • Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?
      Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just… ...
    2 days ago
  • Norway moves first to dump coal investments
    The Green Party today called on the Government to secure cross-party support to sell its investments in coal mining companies.The Norwegian Parliament's finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion yesterday to instruct the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 days ago
  • Fonterra payout $13b black hole over 2 years
    Fonterra’s dramatic cut to its forecast farmgate payout over this season and next will lead to a $13 billion black hole over two years, and shows the need for a plan to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for select ctte inquiry into Rural Broadband Initiative
    Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “Rural… ...
    2 days ago
  • Public broadcasting takes big hit under National Government
    Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. … ...
    2 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    3 days ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    3 days ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    3 days ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    3 days ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    4 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    4 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    4 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    4 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    4 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    4 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    4 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    5 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    5 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    7 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    7 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 week ago

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