I don’t blame you if your first reaction to National’s boot camp idea was to roll your eyes because, well, this is hardly a new idea from National is it?
They ran it out at the 2008 election, then closed the camps.
They tried it at the 2017 election, but never got a chance to do it because Winston chose Jacinda.
And frankly, it is a pretty old fashioned idea that gets trotted out by conservative parties pretty frequently.
But, hmmm... it might be worth hearing National out on this. It sounds like they might have the right idea to make it work this time around.
First of all, we know we need to do something. We have a problem.
Kids out ram-raiding at 2am, kids beating up young victims on video for social media fame, a 14 year old robbing a Queen Street jewellery store with a hammer.
These kids need a circuit breaker. We don’t want to leave them with their families; parents who don’t mind or don’t know that they’re out in the middle of the night are not doing a good job.
But we don’t want to send them to jail at that age, so what do you do?
Well, this could be the answer, if and only if, it is done properly.
It cannot be a boot camp that just punishes kids. That’s only going to make them angrier.
But, it can work if it’s a place away from bad parents, where kids are taught some discipline and consequence, where they have rules not allowing them to roam the streets in the middle of the night, where they have counsellors to help them learn new behaviour and deal with past trauma, where they have school, and where they have support when they do go home to those parents.
And look, that is in National’s proposal. They are proposing to include schooling, counselling, drug and alcohol treatment, mentoring, and cultural support, and a case worker assigned to the family for ongoing support.
It’s probably worth giving it a go, isn’t it?
Because what else have we got?
Clearly, what few consequences there are for these kiddie ram-raiders are not enough, because it just keeps happening.
Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.
Appointed as New Zealand’s Prime Minister in 2017, Jacinda Ardern has been described as an iron fist in a velvet glove. She wooed the world ...
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