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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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  • Project 300 short on facts
    A Minister’s pet scheme to employ 300 disabled people in Christchurch seems to be short on facts, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams.  “Nicky Wagner cannot provide solid evidence to show that her much vaunted Project 300 has actually ...
    2 days ago
  • Who are they going to call?
    A cry for help from New Zealand’s longest-running crisis line highlights chronic underfunding of the sector by the Government, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Lifeline is THE go-to helpline for people in crisis, taking up to 180,000 calls each ...
    2 days ago
  • Five months too long for homeless to wait
    New figures revealing homeless people registered with Work and Income are waiting an average of 155 days to be housed shows the Government is totally overwhelmed by the housing crisis, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “What’s worse is ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister in cloud cuckoo land
    Hekia Parata needs a very big reality check if she truly believes every parent has the choice of sending their child to a private school, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Questioned in the House today about plans to pump ...
    3 days ago
  • Convention centre failure means years of uncertainty for CBD
    The failure of Gerry Brownlee’s planned convention centre deal leaves Christchurch facing uncertainty about when activity will be restored to the CBD, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “As one of the CBD’s major anchor projects, the convention centre complex ...
    3 days ago
  • PCE proves water quality still deteriorating
    The PCE State of the Environment Report shows that river water quality is continuing to get worse across large parts of New Zealand, says Labour’s Environment and Water spokesperson David Parker. “Water quality has deteriorated in Canterbury, Central Otago, Auckland, ...
    3 days ago
  • Families with new babies victims of today’s veto
    Families with new babies are the victims of an historical “first” for the New Zealand Parliament today. “For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because ...
    3 days ago
  • Crime on the rise…again!
    The Police Minister’s contention that Police have enough resources to meet the expectations of New Zealand communities is not reflected in the Police’s own statistics, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Yet again, reported burglaries have increased in every region ...
    3 days ago
  • Private schools beneficiaries of extra cash
    Plans to give more taxpayer money to private schools at a time when state schools are struggling to make ends meet says everything about the National Government’s twisted priorities, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Not only did this year’s ...
    4 days ago
  • Inequality getting worse under National
    Inequality is getting worse under National with almost 60 per cent of the wealth in this country concentrated in the hands of the top 10 per cent according to Statistics NZ figures released today, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    4 days ago
  • Government freezes elderly out of insulation subsidy
    Government cuts to the Warm Up New Zealand insulation subsidy means it will now only be available for rental properties and could leave many elderly homeowners cold this winter, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In this year’s Budget the Government ...
    5 days ago
  • Shewan report delivers rebuke to National
    John Shewan’s report into foreign trusts is a rebuke to John Key and the National Party who have protected an industry that has damaged New Zealand’s reputation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Three years ago the Inland Revenue Department ...
    5 days ago
  • Auckland Airport rail analysis must be made public
    The Government should publicly release its detailed analysis of rail to Auckland Airport before it closes off options, so the public can have an informed debate, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Transport Agency today said it is ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    6 days ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    1 week ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    1 week ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    1 week ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    1 week ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    1 week ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    1 week ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    1 week ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    2 weeks ago

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