Oh, sure, the Nats will lock a person up longer after they commit a crime, if they get caught. But what they won’t do is prevent them commiting the crime in the first place. National will spend a fortune on counter-productive vengence after you’ve become a victim of crime but not a fraction of that on saving the crime from happening in the first place.
Te Hurihanga was a pilot programme directed at young people who were slipping into crime that was set up by Phil Goff in the last Labour Government. It has been enmourously successful. The kids who went into it had typically commited 25-30 offences beforehand and none have reoffended afterward. In his agenda-setting speech last week, Goff spoke of the achievements of Te Hurihanga and asked the government to committ to continuing it.
Instead, the government has cancelled it. We know what the result will be. Kids who won’t get the opportunity to attend the course, who will continue slipping into a life of ever more serious crime.
Sure, the programme wasn’t cheap. Te Hurihanga cost $5 million for the 23 young people who took part. Pilots are never cheap and the cost would have come down had it been upscaled.
But, damn it, Te Hurihanga worked. By cancelling it the Government is saving $200,000 per troubled youth today but will come to pay that over and over again in police, court, and jail costs – not to mention the cost of crime to society(estimated at $7000 per offence), and the loss of more young people who could have been productive members of their communities.
I suspect that, at the end of the day, the National Government simply doesn’t think these young people and their victims, most of whom are poor, are worth spending the money on. They would rather give tax cuts to their rich mates.
No wonder the crime rate is climbing under National. They’re doing nothing to prevent it. They won’t invest in jobs and they won’t invest in turning young people away from lives of crime. It’s so stupid, so pointless, so wasteful, so National.