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‘Locked Up Warriors’: 101 East

Written By: - Date published: 8:20 pm, November 9th, 2013 - 95 comments
Categories: class war, crime, health, Maori Issues, poverty, prisons, unemployment, wages, welfare - Tags:

I just watched “Locked Up Warriors” on 101 East on Al Jazeera.  It is pretty sobering to watch.  The message I got from it: Maori in soul destroying poverty; too much money spent on prisons; not enough money and government support of low income communities; some communities are doing some very good things on very little money, to support their people.

The article under the video says:

New Zealand ranks as one of the world’s most peaceful countries in the Global Peace Index every year. Yet despite a strong reputation for social justice and equality, the South Pacific nation has the second highest rate of imprisonment rates in the western world.

In the past two decades, the jail population has doubled. One international study examining law and order across western nations attributes it to a “tough on crime” approach by New Zealand’s political parties since the 1980’s, even though crime rates are low.

Today each prisoner costs on average $94,000 to lock up and the current government has described New Zealand’s prison problem as a moral and fiscal failure.

Making sure the punishment fits the crime is a widely debated subject in New Zealand but what is undeniable is the gross over representation of minorities in jails.One in two prisoners is indigenous Maori even though they only account for just 15 percent of the population. Maori are over represented in all sectors of the criminal justice system due to soaring rates of child poverty, school dropout, unemployment and family breakdown within indigenous communities.

It’s a long term problem and successive governments have failed too many people. The current government is doing way too little, and spending too much on prisons, while the crime rate is dropping.

CTU on unemployment in December 2012:

Maori unemployment is 14.8 percent, Pacific unemployment is now up at 16 percent, and youth unemployment (15-19 years) has gone up to an unacceptable 30.9 percent.

Maori health:

As a population group, Māori have on average the poorest health status of any ethnic group in New Zealand.

Mike Mather in the Waikato Times last month:

“Maori health is a shared responsibility.

“We have a long way to go, but by working together we can and are making a difference.”

Te Puna Oranga was involved in several initiatives to try to lift Maori out of the tough situations many in the Waikato found themselves in.

Chief among these was the Project 270 child poverty initiative, a key part of which was the Kai in Schools (KiS) programme targeting the 45 decile 1, 2 and 3 schools in the Waikato.

Children who had breakfast were more likely to attend, and be able to concentrate at, school, and therefore learn.

“It’s the major way of breaking the poverty cycle. You can’t learn at school if you are hungry.”

Educated children were more likely to grow up to get better paying jobs and lift their families and communities out of poverty, Mr Tamatea said.

Board member Martin Gallagher said he endorsed the food in schools programmes like KiS, as well as getting doctors or health professionals based at lower-decile schools.

Wikipedia says NZ’s Dept of Corrections is a growth area:

When National came to power in 2008, the Department built a new 1,000 bed prison at Mt Eden for $218 million[15] in a public private partnership and gave the contract to Serco.[16]

The Department’s growth has been such that in July 2010, Finance Minister Bill English expressed concerns that Government spending was “led by a rapidly expanding prison system which would soon make Corrections the government’s biggest department”.[17] As at December 2011, New Zealand had 20 prisons and the Department employed over 8,000 staff.[18] The Department’s operating budget is over $1 billion a year.[19]

NZ’s incarceration rate is an international disgrace.

The programme is available on youtube

The video is hard to watch in the first section, because it shows people talking about their violent crimes, and criminal experiences in gangs.

I worry that the first part of the programme focuses too much on the negative aspects of Maori lives.  The later part shows a more positive representation of initiatives being done to stop re-offending and embrace ex-offenders in their communities.

Do you think this is a fair representation of one aspect of NZ?

95 comments on “‘Locked Up Warriors’: 101 East ”

  1. adam 1

    Colonialist mind set, made one of a hell of a come back with neo-liberal economics. Zombie economics is a racist beast as well – who would have thought ah – that white privilege, would impose an economic system to help support there white privilege.

    I liked this programme – and yes there is some positive initiatives out there – but the current reality with the sensible sentencing trust – or as they should be called *racist hiding behind a sentencing trust* – and their ilk taking money from private prisons – ex-offenders are fucked. They have done the time – but they are being punished again and again.

    Fear is the winner on the day – funny how the white collar criminals are walking free and keeping titles. Whilst when your brown – your locked up. And then dumbed in a caravan park or a shitty state house when you get out. Why oh why didn’t I come up with a scheme to rip off millions of middle class white people. *SIGH* to honest I suppose.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 1.1

      Why oh why didn’t I come up with a scheme to rip off millions of middle class white people. *SIGH* to honest I suppose.

      The system has deteriorated so far that the top 0.01% is indeed ripping off the white middle class. Look at Spain, Greece, Italy, and large swathes of the US.

      Colonialist mind set, made one of a hell of a come back with neo-liberal economics.

      Yes. Multinationals see countries as either: markets, mines, or basket cases to be exploited.

      In fact, we are living in a kind of inverse dictatorship now. No figurehead dictator runs the game, but the machinery of exploitative capitalism moves on irresistably, directed by the sum total of perhaps a few tens of thousands very influential people world wide. Billionaires, banking bureaucrats, directors of the board.

      ex-offenders are fucked. They have done the time – but they are being punished again and again.

      That’s the immorality of our system.

      • Murray Olsen 1.1.1

        And Phil Goff made sure it kept happening. Why is he still in Labour?

        To answer Karol’s question: I was heavily involved in that sort of scene nearly 40 years ago. From what I can remember, and what I still see, the depiction is accurate. Fairness is not a concept that can be applied to the Kiwi injustice system. Basically, what it does is try to break the Maori spirit and beat them down as a people, in a way that was never achieved during the colonial days. What we see is equivalent to the Klu Klux Klan teaching blacks their place in the US and A, except that we do it as government policy, and pretend we’re respectable and decent.

        • karol 1.1.1.1

          Thanks, Murray. Yes, it is s kind of neocolonisation. And when things like the Urewera raids, etc…. not a pretty picture of ways that Maori are dominated, driven the the margins etc and breaking of their spirirts.

          • Crunchtime 1.1.1.1.1

            The Urewera raids made me ashamed of my government, my police force and my country.

            They are just the most visible and newsworthy example of how Maori are treated like crap in this country. Treated like criminals in their own country! Supposedly we’re better than the aussies at showing respect for the indigenous people… But I’m sorry, we’re still appalling.

  2. xtasy 2

    “Yet despite a strong reputation for social justice and equality, the South Pacific nation has the second highest rate of imprisonment rates in the western world.”

    Yep, New Zealand is amongst the “leading” countries within the OECD in a number of areas.

    It is a disturbing reality, and it shows signs of a “failed society” – in some ways.

    Much of the blame can – besides of systemic issues, be laid with the now rather ruthless economic system, the never ending bias by media (portraying Maori, Pasifika and also those “lazy beneficiaries” in often negative light), and I must say, an also largely bigoted and predominantly white, Anglo Saxon “middle class”, that does not want anything to do with the “unwashed” at the bottom. Why do we have “better off” suburbs in the main centres, same as they have in the US? Why would certain people not want to live in South Auckland, and would do all to not to “have to” send their kids to schools there?

    Or is it that some are simply “born bad”???

    I would say it is the same issue behind this, that is found in most societies, where minorities are having higher “fail” rates in education, health and employment, in crime and substance abuse. It seems that belonging to a minority predetermines people to end up in a poverty trap. The same is the case with the native Australians, the Indians in the US and Canada, and in some Latin American countries, with gypsies or Roma in Europe, with certain migrant communities there and elsewhere. Also do similar problems persist in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries.

    This should compel governments, and in this case surely the New Zealand government, to sit down and listen, to face up to the real root causes.

    Inequality is one of the roots of all this evil, and it seems to lock people into it. All we get is stupid “welfare” policies that further stigmatise, marginalise and blame, that pressure and punish the ones dependent, rather than actually support and help them in effective ways. We get social policy that now even puts pressure on sick and disabled, where they suspect people to rather malinger than be truly ill.

    For Paula Bennett and this government to listen to such nutcase “experts” like Professor Mansel Aylward and a Dr David Bratt, rather than apply common sense and fair measures, that also include the voice of the affected, that is showing how out of touch this government is. Well, actually they are knowingly applying their draconian approach, as the goal is cost cutting and saving, nothing else.

    Until there is a proper, radical change in welfare and other policies, and above all a change in the minds of the bulk of the population, I fear “we” (as a society) will continue to lock people up and keep them suppressed and marginalised.

    • vto 2.1

      xtasy: “Much of the blame can – …, be laid with the ……., the ……. and also ……., and I must say, an also largely bigoted and predominantly white, Anglo Saxon “middle class”, that does not want anything to do with the “unwashed” at the bottom.”

      What a load of horseshit. Care to back up any of that crapploa?

      • xtasy 2.1.1

        Just one example: “Beggar bans” and policies in that direction, like in Auckland City!

        It got a fair bit of support from that particular “middle class”, when having read a fair bit of feed-back on various websites, except here and the Daily Blog, of course.

        In politics – it took ages for New Zealand to bring in a weak or moderate kind of Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, while many other “developed” countries already had so for much, much longer. I know a person who has suffered from having been imprisoned at a young age, growing up in a small town on the South Island, where the cops just disliked him to challenge some “middle class” conservative social views, so they set him up, charged him, beat him up a few times too by the way, and with lies got him convicted to a prison term.

        That runined his whole life, and still now, anyone with a prison term will not qualify for a clean slate record, no matter for what trivial “conviction” the sentence was.

        I have more, but will not bother you and not stress you out more, as you already seem to be “distressed” about some realities in New Zealand. It is people that vote in governments, and one needs to be realistic about that, that there are a fair number that are not that “liberal”, fair and “social” as some want us to believe.

        But similar “middle class” bigotry and judgmental views are of course common in other places also, and yes, it is not just the “white” ethnic persons, who may fall into such modes of behaviour. Every country and society has its issues, here, if I am right, it is about New Zealand, and particularly Maori getting a rough deal. But to make you feel better, I have enough white middle class bigots in my own family!

    • Foreign Waka 2.2

      Your comments are coming to this conclusion:

      “Inequality is one of the roots of all this evil, and it seems to lock people into it. All we get is stupid “welfare” policies that further stigmatise, marginalise and blame, that pressure and punish the ones dependent, rather than actually support and help them in effective ways. We get social policy that now even puts pressure on sick and disabled, where they suspect people to rather malinger than be truly ill.”

      You seem to belief hat it is whites that cause this, but inequality has no color, no boundary and certainly no unifying colloquial language.
      What you have to look at is actually quite simple: Who or what is winning and follow the money trail.
      This will lead you to the people whose only cause to live is getting more of the same at all costs. It is in their interest that you belief in the story of whites and colored peoples war of class into the next 2000 years because that will aid their purpose of quietly acquiring the very bed you sleep in.
      I am not saying that there is not an element of fear of loosing any status with some of the people (regardless of color!) but by and large its just manipulation to divide.

      • xtasy 2.2.1

        “The same is the case with the native Australians, the Indians in the US and Canada, and in some Latin American countries, with gypsies or Roma in Europe, with certain migrant communities there and elsewhere. Also do similar problems persist in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries.”

        Of course it is not necessarily and simply a “race” matter, but to some degree that tends to come into play here and in other places (ethnic, cultural and religious belonging playing roles in all this). And I did mention a few other places, where they also have their own particular social and socio economic “issues”.

        What I tried to explain is, that belonging to a “minority” tends to lead to forms of discrimination and disadvantages in many areas, as a result of marginalisation. Being raised poor and as a member of a minority means in many cases as facing an uphill battle. This is not unique to New Zealand, but clearly also happening here, whether we like it or not.

        And when I think of “rednecks” I come to think of one predominant group in this place. As societies evolve, any problems can and should be realised, raised, discussed and tried to be resolved, so we can look for improvements, hopefully.

    • binders full of women 2.3

      Why the “—” on ‘leading’ in OECD? Is this sarcasm and you are insinuating that we’re leading the bad stats? Cos we’re not, in fact we are leading in all the good stats! Fresh out this week ‘OECD How’s life? Nov 2013’. NZ leading (as in 1st place) in health, top also in gender equality, in the top 1/2 dozen for education and others. And that whinge de jour about inequality (from all those people who buy that ‘Spirit Level’ pseudo science) well okay we are below the OECD average- but only by one place and the difference between NZ and the 6-7 countries that are better is a couple of percent. And the good news is our levels of income inequality are dropping since mid 90s.

      http://www.oecd.org/statistics/HsL-Country-Note-New-Zealand.pdf

      But back to the video- I have met Mr Henare OKeefe.. lovely man. Wise words.

      • Mike S 2.3.1

        “our levels of income inequality are dropping since mid 90s.”

        Only because there are many wealthy people, as well as those who are well off, who declare very low or no income.

      • xtasy 2.3.2

        “Is this sarcasm and you are insinuating that we’re leading the bad stats?”

        So all is well then? It was a bit of sarcasm behind my comment, as New Zealand is indeed much at the top with incarceration rates per population, while other stats are not so bad. Also are there diseases here that children and adults get, which are not known in most OECD countries, and which some describe as “3rd world diseases”.

        Add the poor home insulation and so forth, and things do not look so “hot”. And I have seen that “warm up NZ” insulation in Housing NZ homes, it is in many cases a “cheapo” solution, delivering rather mediocre results. Sticking some foil underneath floorboards and padding on top of ceilings does not add that much more warmth in cold winters, when windows and doors are allowing draft through, and when walls and so have no insulation inside.

        While NZ is indeed showing good results in some statistics, that does not apply to all. But some do not want to hear that, as it is supposed to be all “sunshine” all about, 24/7, I suppose.

        But welcome to the “brighter future”!

    • SPC 2.4

      You should have said indigenous minority in other countries, it does not apply to every minority.

      Becoming an underclass in one’s own country must be quite crushing to the human spirit. Migrants tend to flourish, including some of the indigenous minority when they travel offshore.

  3. photonz 3

    Within weeks of abolishing the youth hourly rates a few years ago, youth unemployment doubled.

    Repeat – doubled within weeks.

    As an employer, if I can employ a 30 year old mum with work experience and recomendations, but it costs the same for a pimply faced 17 year old with a bad attitude, who do you think will get the job.

    The left naively though abolishing youth rates would help them. If any body on the left had ever employed any youth, they would have realised they were kneecapping them.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 3.1

      Hey photonz,

      Apart from being a disloyal lying shit head, you should consider the fact that we are simply underspending into the economy. Severely underspending. That’s why there is a shortage of jobs.

      The Right naively think that valuing young people less than other people in society is the way ahead.

      The fact of the matter is of course that the Right focus on depressing labour prices as that (and stealing public assets) is the only method they know of increasing corporate profits.

      • infused 3.1.1

        Remove head from ass and you may be able to see the light.

        Youth rates are a stepping stone. Simple as that.

        • Foreign Waka 3.1.1.1

          Infused, it should at least go hand in hand with an apprenticeship.This is the obligation of any civilized country, to make a future for the next generation . It is laissez-faire policies to abscond from it.

        • Tat Loo (CV) 3.1.1.2

          Youth rates use young people as a stepping stool. Simple as that.

    • SPC 3.2

      Did youth unemployment increase while the unemployment rate remained unchanged?

      If not, the problem was an increase in unemployment – lack of new jobs to those leaving school.

  4. photonz 4

    You’ve clearly never put out your own money on the line to employ anyone.

    Funny how the left say we’re underspending, say the govt should have borrowed more, and in the next breath criticise the level of debt.

    Yet more evidence of the appalling level of economic education in schools.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 4.1

      Orthodox economics is a big fat vat of laced Kool Aid. False, misinterpreted, and to be avoided at all costs.

      Funny how the left say we’re underspending, say the govt should have borrowed more, and in the next breath criticise the level of debt.

      You’re rambling.

      If you weren’t such a dickhead, you’d have noticed my many assertions that the NZ Government can spend money into the economy to get necessary work done. Borrowing more is not necessary. Regardless, Cullen gave English the fiscal space needed, by paying down debt pre 2008.

      You’ve clearly never put out your own money on the line to employ anyone.

      Meh. You’re only talking about yourself.

  5. photonz 5

    Tat loo says “If you weren’t such a dickhead,”…”Apart from being a disloyal lying shit head,”

    If lack the ability to debate intelligently, you could try resorting to personal abuse.

    Oh – you already have.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 5.1

      Ducking for cover, you disloyal lying shit head? How does it feel to be advocating for lower wages for young New Zealanders? Does it give you a warm feeling to be playing a pivotal role in further depressing the income share going to labour in this country?

      As for inability to debate intelligently – nice derail. Now get back to arguing the economics. If you can, that is.

  6. photonz 6

    Tat loo says “How does it feel to be advocating for lower wages for young New Zealanders? ”

    How does it feel to be advocating for unemployment?

    At $15 an hour, I have a job for someone.

    If it costs me $18, then I have no job – because I have to pay nearly 3 months wages every year for ZERO work – add up 4 weeks holiday, a weeks sick leave, 11 days statutory holiday, and the equivalent of 4 weeks a year in paid coffee breaks.

    And besides that, the current minimum wage (adjusted for inflation) is much higher than it was for anyone ten or twenty years ago.

    For example, in 1999 the minimum wage was $7 which is $9.95 in today’s money, So today’s minimum wage in nearly 40% higher.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 6.1

      Forget it mate. Everyone can see the billions of dollars being extracted out of NZ annually. There’s no shortage of money. The question is, as always, who is pocketing it.

      Also. All your stats are shit. Advocating for a slave economy should be below you.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.2

      The fifth Labour government raised the minimum wage nine times in nine years and unemployment went down to its lowest level in NZ history. The standard model dogma you are spouting is not found in the real world.

      Not. Found. Eat that.

    • KJT 6.3

      Photo.

      So you think we should subsidise your business, which cannot pay a decent wage, so you can pay your workers less than they cost.

      You can’t have much of a business.

      And, Ignoring the fact that, due to Unions, in the past, very few people were on minimum wage.

      Now a large proportion of workers are.

      I was on much more in my teens.

      Apprentices in the 70’s got $64 a week. Work that out in today’s dollars.
      Funny that, with the high pay there were still plenty of apprenticeships.

      How much do they get now, Photo, if they are paid at all?

    • Foreign Waka 6.4

      You argument is circular but I guess you have noticed that when you wrote it. Less pay, less buying power, less business, less pay ….. etc you get the picture.
      Having a business is an investment, not just in plant and buildings (less and less so unless manufacturing something) but also into the community. Unfortunately, share markets just talk the talk and do not walk the walk. It is high time that people who are investing into their business and community take back what is rightfully theirs. However, this is not done by taking the last penny from the ones on the bottom of the heap.

    • joe90 6.5

      So today’s minimum wage in nearly 40% higher.

      So?.

      Housing
      that cost $100.00
      in quarter 1 of 1999
      would have cost

      $231.08

      in quarter 1 of 2013

      http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary_policy/inflation_calculator/

    • Will@Welly 6.6

      photonz – yes, but what you are not factoring in, is that in 1991, the then National Government deliberately reduced benefits which had the effect of reducing overall wages in New Zealand, particularly to those in the lower sectors.
      When you do you budgets for the year, you should factor in the cost of holiday pay, etc, so that it evens itself over a 12 month period. As for paid “coffee breaks”, imagine working an 8 – 10 hour day without a break – I have, I have worked in hospitality for a number of years, so alot of us know that when it’s busy, breaks go out the door – the breaks are good for staff morale, and usually result in better productivity.
      You come across as a mean old bugger, just wanting to exploit your staff.

  7. photonz 7

    tat says “Also. All your stats are shit.”

    Is that the best response you’ve got ? That’s pathetic.

    Stats are all correct.

    Show me what’s wrong – I’d love the opportunity to prove you’ve got no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 7.1

      Your “stats are correct”

      Really? Feel free to show your calculations and sources then. Go on.

  8. photonz 8

    Happy to prove you have no idea what you’re talking about

    Minimum wage 1999 – $7
    http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/pay/minimumwage/previousminimum.asp

    Inflation calculator $7 in 1999 = $9.95 today
    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary_policy/inflation_calculator/

    • Tat Loo (CV) 8.1

      Does that inflation calculator take into account the doubling of accomodation and housing costs? No? Whoops

  9. photonz 9

    Tat says “Does that inflation calculator take into account the doubling of accomodation and housing costs? No? Whoops”

    Wrong (again) – the CPI includes housing and rents.

    • KJT 9.1

      Really.

      We have already established that the CPI understates the rise in costs for those on lower incomes, by a considerable amount.

      • Tat Loo (CV) 9.1.1

        Also there were several years of negligible minimum wage increases under Ruth Richardson, pre 1999, which motivated Labour to actually catch it up with larger increases relatively quickly.

        Photo’s chosen time period deliberately cuts that out from consideration.

    • Foreign Waka 9.2

      OK photonz – I am not inclined to give something for nothing but your comment is just way way off the reality path here.
      Let’s see about these costings:
      1999 – in a Wellington suburb $210.00, in 2013 – $ 395.00 _ Same house, same flat no less. So here is the true measure – and this looks to me a rise of 88%.
      Food – since I do the household shopping in my family, I can reassure you that the average grocery bill per week has gone up by around 82-83%.
      Both items are true measures – from the real life out there.
      By your standard, the minimum wage – that is the minimum one needs to live on and to survive would be measured in : 1999 – $ 7.00, 2013 with the inflation calculator should be $ 12.95.
      Now lets not forget that there are many retired people out there who have also a right to life (what do you think?) and they have to survive on 60% of that.
      The policy of envy and sandpit bullying – NZ grow up!

  10. photonz 10

    I only calculated employees taking a weeks sick leave per year when it seems the average is half a week more than that –

    http://www.statschat.org.nz/2011/07/01/do-women-really-take-more-sick-leave/

    • Tat Loo (CV) 10.1

      So how do tea breaks allow foreign shareholders to take around $8B out of NZ per year?

      • infused 10.1.1

        Run out of arguments, lets change subjects and use big numbers.

        Tat, you’re a moron. Do yourself a favor and stop posting.

    • karol 10.2

      photonz,the stats you have been ignoring: all that money spends on prisons and corrections & the contracting out to dodgy corporations like Serco.

      • KJT 10.2.1

        Photo is noted elsewhere for;
        Regurgitating planet Key stats that only tell half the story.
        Thinking that the economic “theory of the household” applies to countries.
        Trying to justify everything this Government does. No matter how evil.
        Peddling bennie bashing welfare myths such as the “hordes of feral solo mums” overwhelming NZ.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.2.1.1

          I wonder whether Photonz is a genuine lying piece of trash, or just a genuinely gullible idiot who doesn’t know any better than to mindlessly repeat the lies of others.

          Either way, we need better wingnuts.

          • KJT 10.2.1.1.1

            To give Photo credit I think he is, like Wayne, a true believer who has swallowed the Neo-liberal line.

            Like those people in the Street who think they are doing you a favour, by giving you their tracts.

    • KJT 10.3

      Have you calculated the working hours of the Port Lyttelton Manager who got a 600k bonus for playing golf, while his workers were driving cranes that shook like a fairground ride during earthquakes.

  11. tracey 11

    “add up 4 weeks holiday, a weeks sick leave, 11 days statutory holiday, and the equivalent of 4 weeks a year in paid coffee breaks”

    would you like a fiddle nero?

  12. tracey 12

    photonz

    how much do you earn each year by way of drawings salary and including any income maximising methods. where do you live?

    honesty is appreciated.

  13. Ad 13

    A balanced review. Very impressed with the community volunteers who took initiative, but even more impressed with the grandparents who were raising children without functioning parents.

    I definitely feel safer with a declining NZ crime rate and criminals locked in jail. Even the Hawkes Bay Councillor Mr O’Keefe acknowledged that the problem will always be with us, and the existing system will never fully work for Maori. Any programme starting from now will only soften a huge peak.

    My only 2 points are these. Bulldoze the gang headquarters, burn them to the ground, attacked their bank accounts, rip their patches off, and laser off their tattoos, and do it all on tv. Gangs will always be with us, but they can be almost destroyed. They are the intergenerational crime-breeders.

    Secondly, the Labour housing programme should build papakainga housing in small towns for grandparents looking after children, interest and principal free while the children live there. The hope is with the next generation.

    • karol 13.1

      Bulldoze the gang headquarters, burn them to the ground, attacked their bank accounts, rip their patches off, and laser off their tattoos, and do it all on tv. Gangs will always be with us, but they can be almost destroyed. They are the intergenerational crime-breeders.

      I think you’re being a bit harsh on the Merril Lynch gangsters that enriched our current PM. And the headquarters of their NZ branch is a historic building (albeit bought through dodgy processes), so I wouldn’t want to see it bull dozed.

    • KJT 13.2

      Since when did a “decrease in the rate of convictions” and a “decrease in reported crime”, (because the statistical basis was changed), become a “decrease in the crime rate”?

      I have already taken the Herald to task for their misleading headline claiming the same thing.
      Especially when their own article under the headline qualified it.

      Just as well for the crime rate, though, most of our present young adults grew up under the previous Government. Before NACT’s swath of destruction of our schools and communities.

    • Murray Olsen 13.3

      Did you apply to join that gang in Boy and get turned down? You are so full of hate and despair. That’s not how to run a justice policy.

  14. Ad 14

    So droll Karol. If Al Jazeera had done a program on corruption and financial crime you would have had a point. But they didn’t, so you don’t.

    • karol 14.1

      ad, my point is that you mention of bulldozing the gang headquarters is attacking the symptom and not the underlying cause. And to get to the underlying causes, you need to look at what is happening at the top of the tree.

      I agree with your idea of a Labour-led government building houses: I’d like to see more state houses in the regions (along with their idea of revitalising the regions), as well as in the cities.

      If you’re suggesting sending Maori to small towns…. why not other people as well…. and I would still like to see provisions for Maori and all low income people in the cities. Otherwise it looks like abandoning cities like Auckland to the better off classes.

      • KJT 14.1.1

        When you have the example of cruel, antisocial, mendacious crims at the top, including outfits such as Serco, and our present Government, it is not surprising that those at the bottom think it is OK, to try and get their cut..

    • Foreign Waka 14.2

      Just a question: what is does the statistics on convictions say for all criminals in NZ and what is the breakdown between ethic groups? I think this would be more telling. Without this information all that is done here is propaganda and mudslinging.

  15. as far as being a high-quality doco/current-affairs piece..it wasn’t all that..

    ..far too much reliance on personal-anecdotal..

    ..lazy journalism..(shoot ‘n hope..)

    ..it could have been far more potent/powerful..

    ..phillip ure..

    • Murray Olsen 15.1

      I think we need to remember that it was for an international audience, many of whom will think of Aotearoa in terms of LOTR scenery. In many cases, this will be their first introduction to the fact that we live in a highly punitive and unequal society. In fact, people I’ve met in my travels are shocked to hear how many Kiwis are, or have been, in prison. Most Germans, for example, don’t know anyone who has been in prison, whereas most Kiwis would know at least one person. The people who run our country are intent on turning it into a social and environmental wasteland. This program gives a peek at one aspect of that. I wouldn’t be too hard on it.

      • Tat Loo (CV) 15.1.1

        Once Were Warriors remains shock therapy for foreigners who have only had exposure to the 100% Pure image of NZ.

  16. Ad 16

    Attacking symptoms is vital to any illness.

    I couldn’t see the programme saying that inequality caused violent crime which in turn caused high incarceration rates. I saw it saying there is a major rehabilitation problem.

    I am very confident that there’s a relation between high inequality and the diseases of poverty. But I haven’t seen evidence that decreasing inequality causes low violent crime.

    what I did see on the programme is that violent crime and poor parenting is a Maori problem. So yes papakainga housing for elders with mokopuna should be limited to Maori. Remember the last time a labour tried a broad Maori-focused social programme? It nearly killed the government.

    • karol 16.1

      The programme didn’t really go very deep, as phillipure says above. But it’s main focus was on the high incarceration rate in NZ and the high proportion of Maori being imprisoned, while NZ’s crime stats show a decrease. The programme also highlighted the amount of money put into imprisoning people compared with little put into positive community initiatives to support communities. It also focused on the fact that the gang members came from very poor areas with limited opportunities for the young.

      I was concerned that the programmed focused too much on the criminal behaviour and not enough on the wider social conditions that give rise to marginalisation and criminal subcultures.

      The result is some people blame the gangs and don’t ponder enough on the bigger picture.

      There is indeed a correlation between high levels of income inequality and violent crime internationally.

      There is also a correlation in NZ between crime and poverty.

      NZ Herald in 2010 on the book The Spirit level.

      The greater the gap between rich and poor, the more likely people will grow up a drug user, a criminal, less educated, obese, pregnant while a teenager, even less trusting of others.

      That is the main thesis of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, by British researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, which tracks income inequality against social indicators including health, education and crime.

  17. Ad 17

    Correlations are a fools errand.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 17.1

      That is true. However, The Spirit Level describes causal relationships between inequality and social ills. Further, as a meta-analysis it proposes no new conclusions, but is merely a summation of extant knowledge.

      • Ad 17.1.1

        Agreed. Loved the book. Plenty of social ills DO get cured with redistribution. Fully agree with redistributed wealth being the only route to national wellbeing.

        Just couldn’t agree with the overstretch of the post.

        In political terms, too, saying “Oh it’s simply about everything, so we have to change everything” is the saddest wrongheadedness I’ve seen time and again from both radical sides of our political spectrum.

        We are a society getting safer ever year, according to the crime statistics, except for violent crime.

        If this country had a thousand of those kuia and young social workers absorbing and changing the damage violent offenders do, we would be better off than any grand social policy reform we could devise.

  18. One Anonymous Knucklehead 18

    The Dutch closed eight prisons this years because they don’t have the convicts to fill them. This country desperately needs penal reform. Instead of following international best practice, which has recidivism, for example, at around twenty percent, we allow ourselves to be dragged around by failed right wing drivel.

    Private prisons should be a prime candidate for compulsory acquisition without compensation to SERCO or any of the other leeches. Make it clear to them: when you usurp basic functions of the state you will lose 100% of your investment. Caveat emptor.

    • Ad 18.1

      what if their results show they do a better job?

      • Tat Loo (CV) 18.1.1

        Are you making the case to leave the door open to privatisation of core govt functions and assets?

        Imprisonment is one of the most serious and coercive powers the Crown has over its citizens. The responsibility should never be contracted out to private for profit corporations.

        Btw if Serco is found to do a few things better, Corrections should simply copy it as best practice.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1.2

        What if the Moon is made of blue cheese? Wishful thinking makes for poor penal policy, cf: Blameless Babes by Dame Sian Elias.

        Plus what Tat said.

    • Wayne 18.2

      Anonymous,

      Fortunately NZ govts will not follow your continual injunction to expropriate whatever you don’t like without compensation.

      I assume you are a Marxist of some persuasion, since this was a favorite theme of twentieth century hard left socialists of all kinds. But those days are in the past.

      Expropriation without compensation simply does not happen in democratic societies, mostly because Govts like to get re-elected. And in democratic societies there is a large amount of private property spread across all social classes, even if unevenly. If people see a govt expropriate without compensation, they worry it could happen to them.

      For instance, as general proposition, the middle 20% of voters change govts. By and large this group are not socialists. They own their own houses. Many will have a second rental property, or operate a small businesses. They will be aspirational to do better.

      And they will happily vote centre left or centre right, depending on circumstances. A govt that expropriates without compensation will frighten them as being unpredictable and reckless (and not meeting the centre left test).

      Anyway enough of my homily, since I am sure you know all of this anyway.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.2.1

        Ah, I’m not proposing it for Marxist reasons (I have no beef with private property), but as a punitive measure. We have to take these measures because the National Party sells legislation to its clients. End this treachery and there’ll be no need to punish the perpetrators.

  19. Wayne 19

    Everyone cites that NZ has the second highest imprisonment rate after the US, and put like that it is true, but it is also misleading.

    NZ is in a cluster of Australia, Canada and the UK, where the rates of imprisonment are quite similar, though NZ is often at the head of it. The US imprisonment rate is 4 times higher than this cluster, and is really an extreme outlier among OECD nations. European rates tend to be quite a bit lower than NZ, Aus, Canada and the UK.

    So why do NZ, Aus, Canada and the UK form a cluster? I think it because the they have similar legal and social systems. All of them are more diverse than most European nations. Sentences are typically longer than European nations.

    In 1996, when I first became an MP, the prison muster was 4,500. Today it is 8,000. The main reason is that most sentences are longer. For instance in 1996, the standard “tariff” for rape was 3 to 4 years. Today it is 6 to 8 years. The same for most other offenses. Drunk driving (multiple convictions) is much more likely to lead to imprisonment than used to be the case.

    You will recall the huge public pressure for longer sentences, and successive govts have responded to that over the last 15 years.

    The Maori/Non Maori rates are pretty much the same today as 18 years ago, so this is not the key driver.

    Offending rates have reduced over the last few years, but it will take time to reflect in a reduced prison muster, though I think you will find it is just staring to be reflected, since the muster now is lower than 1 or 2 years ago.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 19.1

      You will recall the huge public pressure for longer sentences

      I recall Graham Capill frothed at the mouth while the rest of you motherfuckers showed zero leadership, and in some cases deliberately fanned the flames and passed worse and worse penal policies with zero regard for facts and both eyes firmly on the populist rewards available.

      Duck for cover and hide behind public opinion til the cows come home, Dr. Mapp. The damage inflicted will take decades to repair.

      • Wayne 19.1.1

        Tat Loo,

        You are right. In recent years we have tended to be at the top of the group of nations, but we didn’t used to be. Once we got over 7,000, we have been at the top of this group. The figures do change annually, but since sentences of 4 years or more tend to slow the rate of annual change, it takes a while for lower annual imprisonment rates to reduce the overall “muster”.

        The Corrections Department will have a good idea of what the muster is likely to look like over the next several years. Someone might like to check with the Department or on recent official documents.

        • Tat Loo (CV) 19.1.1.1

          Hi Wayne,

          I think they are predicting a gradual decrease in prison muster. I am frustrated at groups like the SST being over represented in the media. And some politicians…Mr English excepted…who still seem to struggle with the idea that prisons are moral and fiscal failures.

          Prisons are far too much like crime universities.

      • Wayne 19.1.2

        Well the public pressure across the board was pretty strong and widely held that there should be longer sentences, and inevitably politicians will respond. And they did, in all the major parties, including Matt Robson. And the judges also were aware of the public mood.

        Though there does seem to be some recognition that we, as a society, have gone as far as we should. The pressure for longer sentences now seems to be abating.

        However, in the event that any of the roast busters are convicted, it is certain that most people will want to see them do a few years inside, not just say 2 years.

        Politicians have resisted the more strident demands. However, most people seem to think 6 to 8 years for rape is about right. Typically the offender will do 3 to 6 years inside before parole.

        As a general proposition, non violent offenders serve 33% to 50% of the sentence in custody, and violent offenders do 50% to 66% of the sentence in custody.

        And think of the widespread demands that fraudsters do more time than they currently do.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 19.1.2.1

          And there it is: that failure of leadership I mentioned, because the best guide to penal policy is what “most people think”. Not.

          What a craven abdication of responsibility. How cowardly to hide behind popular sentiment while enacting legislation that has the opposite effect to its stated purpose.

          Shame on you.

        • Murray Olsen 19.1.2.2

          I think the demands about fraudsters concern more the disparities between someone who steals $10 and a NAct supporter in a suit who steals millions. It’s not necessarily that the fraudsters should do more time, but is often that they should not be allowed to keep their ill gotten gains.

          As for the roast busters – I would want them to serve whatever sentence a judge thought appropriate. If that were two years, and the action taken lowered the chances of child rapes of this nature happening again, I’d settle for that. A judge needs to think of a lot more than keeping WhaleSpew, McVicar and Laws happy.

        • KJT 19.1.2.3

          Public pressure my arse.

          Pressure from a vocal minority led by the SST.

          If public pressure made any difference we would have tougher measures for white collar crims, and no asset sales!

          It was just that polls told politicians that swing voters liked “tough on crime” measures.

          Real leaders would have been explaining why more jail does not work.

          Instead of censoring people including a high court judge that said “tough on crime” measures just makes for more crims.

      • Murray Olsen 19.1.3

        That’s what I remember too, AOK. A few noisy brain dead morons like Capill and McVicar, and an outbreak of collective cowardice on the part of our elected representatives.

        BTW, all the evidence I’ve seen about Serco says they do things a lot worse than the state. In Britain, I think some of their executives could well be behind bars in the near future.

    • Foreign Waka 19.2

      You may have the answers to my question at 11.42am:
      what is does the statistics on convictions say for all criminals in NZ and what is the breakdown between ethic groups?

    • RedLogix 19.3

      For some reason I cannot fathom I’ve tended to collect Dutch friends all through my life. (My father was the same too …).Indeed with just one exception, ALL of the people I count as good mates are NOT from an Anglo background, yet I’m a sixth generation New Zealander.

      No this doesn’t make me any kind of expert on the Dutch (or anyone else’s culture) but the common thread I think that draws me to them is this: (At the usual risk of generalising of course.)

      1. They are a very practical people who value skill and achievement of all kinds.

      2. They tend to be much less judgmental about other people’s foibles and follies, preferring to get on with dealing to their own life.

      3. At the same time they’ve always been generous to me with their time, energy and money. If I needed any help I could count on it in spades without a massive burden of reciprocal expectation attached.

      Quite a few years ago one of them (very late one night working as it was) explained how the Dutch tend to see the question of crime and punishment: that they were willing to tolerate a very wide range of behaviour …but once you stepped over a line you got hammered.

      They liked to see their police and courts as the last resort for dealing with their problems …

    • Tat Loo (CV) 19.4

      NZ is in a cluster of Australia, Canada and the UK, where the rates of imprisonment are quite similar, though NZ is often at the head of it.

      And sometimes by a long way. We’re a bit higher than the UK in incarceration rates, but half again more than Australia, and almost twice as high as Canada. That’s a couple of thousand of extra prisoners, and maybe $300M pa in excess costs, easily.

  20. Foreign Waka 20

    I looked it up myself and found this:
    http://www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/facts_and_statistics/quarterly_prison_statistics/ps-Dec-2013.html

    Therefore: Male Prison Population is about 8100, Female 500. Biggest portion Maori 50%, European 34%, Pacific 12% (all rounded). Proportion of Offense: Violence 39%, Sexual assault 23%, Dishonesty 18% and Drug offenses 12%.
    No analysis is available as to what offence is perpetrated by what ethnic group and compared. This would be of greater interest n terms of the severity of offence committed and could be quite telling. No use of having all the dope smokers listed who are too high to get off their behinds having 12% of the stats, but no in debt analysis is being done as to who and why violence and sexual assault is being committed. Perhaps such behavior a the roast busters recently is part of that greater picture. Just saying…

  21. captain hook 21

    al jazeera are troublemakers.
    their staff borders on the infantile and they are psychopathically obsessed with the United States.
    They dont have any solutions and there was no list of percentages since malefactors were firs incarcerated in New Zealand for crime against the laws of New ZeaLAND.

    • karol 21.1

      ch, I have no idea what you are on about: some examples and/or citations might help…. maybe?

    • Murray Olsen 21.2

      Strangely enough, captain sook, the role of a news agency in Qatar is not to provide solutions for the mess we have made of our injustice policy. Unfortunately, politicians on both sides seem to think Fox News plays this role.

      What Al Jazeera does is give a slightly alternative view of the world. I’m glad they exist.

    • Morrissey 21.3

      Captain Hook, your comment is the most fatuous and ignorant posting to appear on this normally excellent forum in some time.

      You appear to be utterly clueless.

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  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
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