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National’s Youth lauranorda rhetoric

Written By: - Date published: 2:16 pm, November 27th, 2019 - 20 comments
Categories: crime, law, law and "order", national, same old national, Simon Bridges, Social issues, spin, uncategorized, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

I have practiced in the Youth Court since its inception, some 30 years ago.  I have represented hundreds perhaps thousands of young people in the Court during that time and consider I know the system pretty well.

Which is why I cannot believe how National’s proposed law and order policy document, at least as far as it applies to young people, is so inept.

Two of the proposals that caught my attention are:

  • Widening the Clean Slate scheme for young offenders to wipe their criminal record at age 18 if they meet certain criteria.
  • Classifying the top 150 most serious offenders as “young serious offenders” and treating them differently. 

The proposal for a clean slate ignores the fact that pretty well every first offender in the Youth Court who faces a charge involving a potential prison sentence of two years or less get a clean record under section 282 of the Act.  The effect of this order is that it is deemed that the young person has been acquitted of the offence.  The effect is even stronger than the result under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Law 2004 which merely allows a qualifying person to deny they have a conviction. 

And the Clean Slate system applies to many offences where the potential sentence is up to 14 years in prison, as long as the young person was not sentenced to prison. Is the 2 year maximum sentence provision suggesting that the application of the Clean Slate for young people will be more restrictive than it is for adults?

Young people get the benefit under the Clean Slate legislation anyway.  Is National proposing clean slate only for young people if they do some community work and pass their NCEA literacy modules?  This is the only possible interpretation of the proposal.

The numbers of people potentially affected by this?  I would be most surprised if anyone qualified apart possibly from the odd 17 year old who before the Youth Court age was increased got into trouble twice or did not receive police diversion.  The number must be very, very low.

The rhetoric is great, giving young people a second chance.  But they get it anyway.  It seems the only purpose of the proposal is so that National can talk about how offenders have to do community work and get an education before they can have a clean slate. This is policy formulation by rest home focus groups.

The proposal discloses a profound lack of understanding of the way the Youth Court works. I hope the media pick up National on this.

As for the “young serious offender” classification I cannot imagine anything more dangerous.

If this was brought in it would create a contest.  Some young people would fall over themselves to make it onto this list.  It would be a categorisation they would be proud of.  I am surprised there is not already a YSO gang.

Out west there may be 10 slots on this list.  I could probably name the leading contenders.  Already they are either in custody or subject to significant limitations on their freedom.  The authorities know who they are.  The categorisation will add nothing to resolving their situation or treating their problems.

The proposal has been around for a while. And it raises significant legal issues.  Why should number 151 on the list enjoy greater rights than number 150?  And the powers if granted would completely undermine any prospect of rehabilitation.

This feels like a gimmicky meme masquerading as a policy.

It will only affect poor marginalised kids as this analysis by Katie Bruce shows.  Her conclusion is well put:

It is important that we recognise that this policy is not designed to treat people equally. Instead it targets children already marginalised by our society.

It is setting kids up to fail – those who are already experiencing a tough start in life, and those who are already more likely to be targeted by state intervention because of their history or their ethnicity.

This is not fair and it’s not just.

We need to wholeheartedly reject this policy and demand better for all of our children.

It is incredible that National should be praising the work of the Youth Court and especially Rangatahi Courts but then propose changes that will undermine the good results that have achieved.

The proposal for Education Officers is a good one. It has been happening at Waitakere for years and yes we have Education Officers attending Family Group Conferences regularly.

There is a lot of other matters I could refer to, particularly the tough on gangs Strike Force Raptor rhetoric as well as the linking of parole to obtaining numeracy and literacy qualifications.

National has form for engaging in strange law changes so they can wind up the rhetoric, even if the changes breach fundamental rights. It is a shame really. Bill English famously conceded that prisons were a moral and fiscal failure but his view clearly is no longer fashionable in National’s caucus.

National and Bridges are happy to engage in sound bite policies that make no sense and will not work. Shame on them.

20 comments on “National’s Youth lauranorda rhetoric ”

  1. I'm quite interested in getting the measure of the man. It's quite easy to cast him off as just being as thick as pigshit, and there's always the difference between intelligence and animal cunning.

    Do you (and others) think he actually believes his own bullshit? I suspect he does, and would probably march with it to his grave – unless he thought there was another earn in it

    • roy cartland 1.1

      His strategy is twofold:

      a) Whip up resentment and hate and build a rabid base like Trump et al. So crazy it just might get them across the line.

      b) Appear ignorant and out-of-touch thereby leaving the field wide open for another member to have a go after they lose in 2020; they will be able to gauge whether to push harder with the craziness or pull back and go 'centre'.

      • OnceWasTim 1.1.1

        So as in a), not too different from Shane Jones – although in his case, intelligence and animal cunning have been issued in equal measure.

        The worst thing is knowing the number of people that actually buy into it all

      • joe90 1.1.2

        His strategy is twofold:

        a) Whip up resentment and hate and build a rabid base like Trump et al.

        Overheard yesterday at pack 'n' slave..

        " Did you knowJacinda Arden is called Cinderella because she's building all these state houses for gang members who wreck them and they have pitbulls and they wreck state houses and national selling all the state houses was good because gang members and FJK was great and once upon a time state houses weren't wrecked because only good people got them and now gang members with pitbulls burglarise and I like Blinglish but he's not there now but that new fella Luxon is good gang members wreck state houses did you know she's called Cinderella now because…"

        • Anne

          Reminds me of a story I heard about Helen Clark when she was PM.

          When she was at Auckland uni she had a [supposed] lesbian partner [name deleted] and they both had big ambitions and wanted to hide their relationship so they decided to each marry a man from academia to act as a cover for their relationship and allow them to pursue their careers.

          Both were successful and reached the top of their respective careers. And to my knowledge both remain happily married to their respective spouses from academia-land.

          That story was told me back in the 2000s by someone who had been told it by someone etc. etc. and I was astonished by some of the people who thought it might be true.

    • Incognito 1.2

      If you pose it as a binary, e.g. does he believe all or none of his own BS, I think you won’t be getting anywhere.

      • OnceWasTim 1.2.1

        Oh I agree @Mr Cogs. I'm not trying to put a label on him either. Just interested in what drives a muppet like that.

        But if I had to, it'd be something like an 'exceptionalist opportunist' – the primary purpose of which is to advance his own agenda (again, not unlike Hold-The-Ladder-Steady Shane).

        Ego plays a big part in it all it seems.

        • Incognito

          Mr Cogs, no less!! People make so many assumptions so easily 😉

          National’s strategy is not about specific policies or policy details. It is all about the vibe and feeling they create to pull people (voters) in or push them in the opposite direction. Similarly, what the leader says is less important than how he says it and whether he embodies certain values to certain people. It may not work so well for the leader but at a party level, the support base has been relatively strong and stable. For these reasons, they will not opt for nuance or compromise. In other words, expect more of the same over the next year.

          • OnceWasTim

            Sorry Mr @ Incognito. But all of which doesn't really give me any insight into what causes a muppet like Soimun to get up in the morning – other than he's trapped in a Whurl, knows he is, and now has to play out the part. I'm erring on the side of a binary animal cunning. Long term, he's probably going to need some survivalist skills

            Anyway……I didn't really mean to stifle the thread and get into some deep an meaningful psycho-analysis of Soimun Bridges. (Time is a finite resource).

            Let's just agree maybe, the guy is a compete muppet who probably wouldn't feel uncomfortable in the company of a ScoMo, or even an Anning

  2. ianmac 2

    "As my work as a Public Prosecutor,"says Simon. Winston claims that Simon just worked in an office.

    Is there any way of searching for Simon's credentials/experiences? He does use his experience as a credential for his Law and Order position so it should be checked.

    • Anne 2.1

      Some people are good at sitting exams but flunk the practical application of what they learn. I think Soimon is one of those.

    • Bg 2.2

      I think Winston should keep his mouth shut on that front. He still likens himself to being a lawyer, yet the last time he practised law was over 40 years ago, and it was hardly a glistening career.

    • Dukeofurl 2.3

      Essentially Bridges worked in the Crown solicitors office in Tauranga and did try various cases as he claims

      Interesting story on the newly appointed Crown Solicitor , a young ( ish) maori woman who put herself through law school. Gives you an idea of what the 'office' prosecutors do

  3. tc 3

    Another 'policy' designed for a dog whistling campaign. Drop the policies this year then go full into sound bites mode.

    Sound bites win, pay attention labour and get your own. The msm will simply be an echo chamber.

  4. Ad 4

    I would be interested to see National actually do a policy about decreasing gangs and meth dealers in this country, together.

    At the moment gangs are growing massively in regional New Zealand.


    and meth use continues to grow hugely as well.


    We're at around 4% headline unemployed and we need all of us who can wield a spade to get in there and build the infrastructure we need. We drug test for every construction worker already.

    I'd like to see small-town community development policies that get young people something to do that really tires them out in a week and earns them better money than drug dealing.

    This current government have had nearly a term to put those 1400 extra Police to good use. I don't have to like National but they are discussing policy areas that this government are pretty weak at.

  5. peterlepaysan 5

    SB is the best thing going for this government. His idiocy is absolutely delightful.

    I hope he keeps on trying to be "different" (isn't that what opposition parties supposed t o do?).

    Sure no 0ne likes drugs (I doubt that . Which drugs are the causing the most harm?

    Confession, I drink alcohol;

  6. Westiechick 6

    I don't think Simon believes anything he says. None of it. What he believes is the paid-for advice he gets that tells him to say it. Regulations bonfire, soft on crime, PC nonsense, smash the gangs, etc.

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