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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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  • Key’s threat to veto premature
    John Key’s threat that he might use a financial veto against the Bill that will introduce 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave is premature and based on inflated costings, says the bill’s sponsor, Labour ‘s Sue Moroney.  “The Government keeps saying… ...
    2 days ago
  • Reflections on the plastic bag tour
    After a marathon public tour around New Zealand that took me to 29 different places around New Zealand from the far north of Kaitaia to the deep south of Invercargill to talk about phasing out plastic bag use, I wanted… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 days ago
  • Labour celebrates Tongan language and diversity
    Tongan Language Week is a timely reminder of the importance and beauty of our Pacific culture, identity and language in New Zealand, says our first Tongan born, Tongan speaking MP Jenny Salesa.  The theme for Tongan Language Week in 2015… ...
    2 days ago
  • Privatising CYF about ideology not care
    John Key’s suggestions today that Child Youth and Family could be privatized will be a terrifying thought for New Zealanders already dealing with the mess created in private prisons and plans to sell our state houses to Australians, Opposition Leader… ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt must make most of Jetstar competition
    Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    5 days ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    6 days ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    6 days ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    6 days ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    6 days ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    6 days ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    7 days ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    7 days ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    7 days ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    7 days ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    7 days ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    1 week ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    1 week ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    1 week ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    1 week ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges
    Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach
    The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. “The $6m contract… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Party should stand up for workers
    The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “We are told that Maori workers are more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain budget blowout
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must explain a budget blow out at Te Puni Kokiri, after the organisation spent more than 2.5 million dollars over their budget for contractors, says Labour’s Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “For the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Successful effort to raise the issue of GE trees in proposed standard
    Many thousands of people submitted on the proposed National Environmental Standard –  Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).  A vast majority of the public submissions were particularly focussed on the NES having included GE trees in its mandate. People want these provisions removed,… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair Share Friday – Thoughts and Reflections
    As part of our Fair Share  campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Crucial Auditor General investigation welcomed
    The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says. “The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver sign-ups continue to fall
    New KiwiSaver sign-ups in July were 45 per cent below the monthly average, despite John Key saying axing the kickstart “will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver”, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson… ...
    2 weeks ago

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