One of the defining characteristics of this government is their arrogant “we know best” attitude. Forcing through national standards against all advice. Ignoring environmental warnings and attacking the scientists that raise them. Likewise with a certain journalist and Afghanistan. Trampling local democracy in Canterbury in case elections deliver the “wrong” result. On these and many other matters John Key prefers to “advise himself” rather than listen to the facts.
Trouble is he’s getting advice from an ideologically blinkered idiot.
Take boot camps. If I might be permitted to plagiarise myself, recall that boot camps were the central plank of the Nats’ “Youth Plan”. Key told us that they would “fight a growing youth crime wave and ensure young people get into education or training” and “defuse these unexploded human time-bombs”. Key was warned (and warned and warned and warned) that boot camps don’t work. But the Nats were determined to carry on regardless. Even when roundly “booed” by his audience Key plaintively insisted that “they actually do work”.
Well, actually, no they don’t. Further confirmation last weekend:
‘Boot camps’ criticised over high re-offending
The Government’s so-called “boot camps” for young offenders are copping criticism following news nearly two-thirds of graduates surveyed broke the law again within six months. At $18,000 a head, the question is now being asked, was it money well-spent?
It’s been five years since John Key campaigned on the scheme – good old-fashioned army discipline to sort out New Zealand’s worst young criminals. But Kim Workman, director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, says it was never going to be a success.
“I think the problem was that it was pronounced as a silver bullet, but was devoid of gunpowder,” he says. …
“Within two years of release you would expect the numbers to go up to between 85 and 90 percent, which is about the sort of rate you’d expect if you did nothing at all. So it’s a disappointing result.”
Key was wrong about boot camps. He’s wrong about education, the environment, the democratic rights of Canterbury, the miraculous power of cycleways, the economy, New Zealand’s international obligations on climate change, and much more besides. Every year in office this arrogant government does yet more damage.