John Key makes big promises and he doesn’t deliver. Tax cuts North of $50? Jobs summit? Close the gap with Australia? If I was a Texan I’d have to say that John was all hat and no cattle. His rhetoric on crime is another example. Here’s what John said before the election:
“New Zealanders are sick of waiting for promises on law and order to be delivered,” … “That will change under a National Government, and it will change from day 1. “The time for talk is over. It’s time for action. …
“National’s Action Plan for Violent Crime will take the practical steps necessary to start addressing these failures and to squarely face the challenge of escalating violent crime.”
My message to the gangs is clear. This Government is coming after your business and we will use every tool we have to destroy it. We will be ruthless in our pursuit of you and the evil drug you push.
Well, Key’s first report card is now in, and it doesn’t look good:
Police minister ‘shocked’ at NZ’s level of violent crime
Violence and drug-related offences are largely responsible for increased crime rates, according to 2009 crime statistics released by police today. The figures show a 4.6 per cent increase in recorded crime in 2009, with 451,405 offences recorded last year compared to 431,383 in 2008. …
Violent offending continued to be a concern, [Assistant Police Commissioner] Mr Nicholls said, with a 9.2 per cent increase to 65,465 offences being recorded. The recorded homicide offences jumped from 23 to 134, with 65 recorded murders in 2009 compared to 13 in 2008. The increase in violent crime was driven largely by family violence, which increased 18.6 per cent (5061 offences), Mr Nicholls said.
The promises to reduce violent crime are a bust. Unfortunately, John’s war on P is doing no better:
Ms Collins said the ongoing spread of the drug P, despite Government attempts to rein it in, and a rise in violent youth offending had contributed to higher violent crime.
Is National capable of acknowledging the evidence? Is Key capable of recognising that his policies are a failure? Strictly rhetorical questions of course, that would be a cold day in hell. Blinkers firmly in place, all the Nats can do is plead that the policies need more time to work. (What happened to “change from day 1”? What happened to “ruthless in our pursuit”?)
So we’re destined to keep charging down the wrong path. National will refuse to listen to the police: “Legislation changes during 2009 have generally had negligible impact on total recorded crime statistics”. National will refuse to listen to the bleeding obvious: “Regular readers of The Standard will know that a primary driver of crime is joblessness”. National will refuse to listen to the wiser voices:
No one in the Beehive seems keen to explain why, if the threat of punishment does not deter an offender, the threat of a putative worse punishment for a future third crime would. Still less does anyone want to wonder whether crime might be an index of social deprivation and despair, not of dark-hearted evil that will be eradicated only by longer and longer terms of imprisonment. Like it or not, we need to address the social disadvantage that spawns crime rather than just punishing it more severely.
National will refuse to listen because addressing social disadvantage is hard. Easier to make big empty promises and ignore the evidence of failure. Easier to smile and wave.