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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. :D

  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? :lol:
    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? :lol:
      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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    John Key and Bill English need to be straight with New Zealanders about the damage their failure to diversify the economy is doing, after new figures show export growth plunged due to a collapse in dairy exports, says Grant Robertson.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Mind the Gap
    This week the International Monetary Fund released a report on the wider economic value in closing the gender pay gap. When even the bastions of free-market economics start to raise concerns about gender pay gaps, we have to realise how… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Labour will hold National to parental leave promise
    Labour will hold National to its promise to increase the support given to new parents of premature, multiple birth and babies born with disabilities, Labour’s paid parental leave campaigner Sue Moroney says. "I am naturally disappointed that after battling for… ...
    2 days ago
  • It was all just pillar talk
    Steven Joyce’s confession that he can no longer guarantee a pillar-free design for the New Zealand International Convention Centre shows the Government has abandoned its dream of creating an ‘iconic’ ‘world-class’ structure, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “Steven… ...
    2 days ago
  • Australians move on offshore speculators
    John Key might want to have a quiet word with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Canberra's just-announced crack down on offshore speculators when he visits New Zealand this week, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says."Tony Abbott's centre right government… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government at odds on overseas driver crashes
    National backbencher Jacqui Dean has spoken out about overseas driver crashes, putting herself at odds with Prime Minister John Key who is on record as saying it’s not a big issue, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “I’m not surprised… ...
    2 days ago
  • Human Rights and the Palestine Crisis
    Last week I heard two Palestinians speak at Wellington events about the ongoing crisis in their country. Samar Sabawi spoke to a full house about the history of Palestine and gave us a lucid and disturbing account of the situation… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 days ago
  • Time to take real care of our kids
    An Amnesty International report has once again criticised New Zealand’s track record on looking after our kids, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. The annual report, which looks at global human rights abuses highlights not only the fact that high… ...
    2 days ago
  • John Key wrong about Labour’s war vote
    John Key’s desperate claims that the former Labour Government didn’t put combat troop deployment to a Parliamentary vote are simply wrong, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “It was disgraceful that the Prime Minister ran rough shod over democracy and… ...
    2 days ago
  • Māori language bill needs work
     It is clear that the first draft of the Māori Language Bill was about structures and funding rather than the survival of te reo Māori, Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.  “Labour is pleased that the Minister of Māori… ...
    2 days ago
  • Report proves troubled school shouldn’t have opened
    The long-awaited release of an Education Review Office report into Northland’s troubled Whangaruru charter school proves it should never have been approved in the first place, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This report identifies problems with absenteeism and disengaged… ...
    3 days ago
  • Reply to PM’s statement on deploying troops to Iraq
    “The decision of any Government to send troops to a conflict zone is a very serious one, and it is right that this House takes time to consider it, to debate it, and, ideally, to vote on it, but we… ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister must take action on death trap slides
    Workplace Relations Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse must take urgent action to ensure inflatable amusement rides don’t become death traps for children, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway says. “No one wants to stop kids having fun, but horror stories… ...
    3 days ago
  • Port expansion ‘buck’ stops at council
    Auckland Council must step in and call a halt to plans by Ports of Auckland to expand into the harbour, Labour List MP Jacinda Ardern says. Labour's Auckland MPs want proposals around any port expansion to be subject to a… ...
    3 days ago
  • Manus Island and the New Zealand Government
    This week the Greens have participated in awareness activity about Manus Island, the refugee camp on an island in Papua New Guinea where Australia dumps asylum seekers. John Key says that he has every confidence in the Australian Government’s claim… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda
    James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election.  I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes no solution to Christchurch housing
    Housing will continue to be a big issue in 2015. The latest Consumer Price Index, released last month, shows both good news and bad news on the housing front. After years of being the most expensive place to build a… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Saving kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges
    It is amazing that you can hear the song of the endangered North Island kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges, less than 50 kms from the central city. A heavy schedule of policy workshops at the Green Party’s Policy… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s not turn a blind eye to human rights
    The Cricket World Cup has just opened in New Zealand, and it’s an opportunity for us to shine on the world stage. International sport can be a chance for us to build relationships with other countries, and examine what it… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Its Just Not Cricket
    This week it was my privilege to work with Sri Lankan Tamil communities in this country and host Australian journalist and human rights advocate Trevor Grant. I knew a bit about Trevor from his biography but I didn’t know just… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZ to #BeCrueltyFree
    The Government is about to progress the final stages of the Animal Welfare Amendment bill. This will be our last opportunity to get changes made to improve the bill to ensure a better outcome for animals. I have put forwards… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • We want access!
    Access to buildings is a big issue for many New Zealanders. It looks like that, due to the hard work and persistence of people in the disability community, the Government may finally be starting to take access to buildings seriously.… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call on Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels
    The Green Party today called on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (the Fund) to divest from fossil fuels, starting immediately with coal. The call was accompanied with a new report, Making money from a climate catastrophe: The case for divesting… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Kiwis’ housing crisis
    Shelter is a fundamental human need along with food, water and clean air. All humans need adequate shelter; it’s a human right. Warm, safe, stable accommodation is critical for young people to be able learn and grow and just be.… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • On the River Patrol in Te Tai Tokerau
    Last Wednesday, I went on a tour of some of Northland’s rivers with  Millan Ruka from Environmental River Patrol as he monitored water quality throughout Te Tai Tokerau. The dry conditions meant we couldn’t use the boat but we visited… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Opening of Parliament 2015
    Russel NormanOpening of Parliament Speech February 2015 Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou katoa. A brief history of climate change What a summer! It's been hot, even here in Wellington, hotter than any summer I can remember. All… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Women on Boards: Not good enough… again
    It’s now clear that the NZX target of having 25 percent of directors of listed companies being women by 2015 won’t be achieved. The number has increased from 12 percent in 2012 to 14 percent in 2014, but on that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago

  • How Free Is Free Speech?
    How Free Is Free Speech: Do we recommend unconstrained freedom of expression? The Chief Human Rights Commissioner, David Rutherford, will be In Conversation with Noel Cheer at St Andrew’s on The Terrace, Wellington on Tuesday 3 March 2015 from 12:15pm… ...
    1 hour ago
  • No military deployment in Iraq: Nationwide peace vigils
    Peace vigils calling for increased humanitarian assistance and diplomatic support for Middle East peace processes, and opposing the military deployment to Iraq, will be held around the country at 5pm on Thursday, 5 March, coordinated by Peace Movement ...
    2 hours ago
  • Message of Nationwide Day of Action :‘TPPA? No Deal!’
    “An amazing 22 towns and cities across New Zealand have rallied to the call for a nationwide day of action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 7 March”, according to Chantelle Campbell who is coordinating the national events ...
    2 hours ago
  • New Group Against Amalgamation
    A group of Wellingtonians have launched a campaign to resist the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s scheme to amalgamate Wellington’s existing councils. The group, Best Little Capital, has been formed by Wellingtonians Michael Moughan and Digby ...
    4 hours ago
  • Stark contrast between benefit increase & MPs’ pay rise
    Stark contrast between benefit increase & MPs’ pay rise Media release Friday 27 February 2015 Earlier this week Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced that benefits will increase by 0.51% on 1 April. Yesterday MPs were granted a 5.5% ...
    4 hours ago
  • Sensible Sentencing challenges MPs to refuse pay rise
    “I realise this will take courage and we extend an open challenge to all MPs – or any MP from any party – to have the courage to be the first to stand up and publicly denounce this nonsense and… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Labour Party President Elected
    Labour Party President Elected Nigel Haworth has been elected as Labour Party President following a vote conducted among the constituent organisations and elected representatives of the Party. This follows the resignation of Moira Coatsworth in December 2014. ...
    4 hours ago
  • Maori Party Focus On 2017
    President Naida Glavish has announced that the Māori Party will not be fielding a candidate in the upcoming Northland by-election. ...
    4 hours ago
  • Council to undertake major ‘stage two’ study on port
    Mayor Len Brown says he does not expect the port will make any application for reclamation until after the unitary plan becomes operative. ...
    20 hours ago
  • Government GST U-Turn
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Revenue Minister Todd McClay’s announcement of a Government U-turn in relation to requiring bodies corporate to register for GST. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: ...
    20 hours ago
  • MP Pay Rise Unjustified
    The Taxpayers’ Union is sickened with the confirmation that the Remuneration Authority has approved a 5.4 percent annual pay rise for backbench MPs, backdated to July last year, and is calling for changes to the Remuneration Authority. Taxpayers’ Union ...
    21 hours ago
  • New Zealand celebrities help shine a light on domestic abuse
    New Zealand stars have shown their support for national domestic abuse charity Shine by starring in a series of commercials for the organisation’s annual appeal month in March. ...
    21 hours ago
  • Local government: Results of the 2013/14 audits
    Challenging times continued for local authorities in 2013/14. Elected members, many in office for the first time, are being asked to respond to matters of growing complexity, urgency, and consequence. Decisions about significant infrastructure investments ...
    21 hours ago
  • Dairy funding for predator control welcomed
    The announcement that the dairy industry will join an initiative to tackle the predators decimating New Zealand’s native wildlife is another positive step on the way to achieving the long term goal of a predator-free New Zealand, Forest & Bird… ...
    21 hours ago
  • More Wellington City Council Dummies?
    Responding to the announcement that Wellington City Council is now a UNICEF ‘Child Friendly City’ , Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman, Ben Craven, says: “It’s bad enough that we have a ratepayer funded 'youth council' which is more about photo ...
    22 hours ago

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