Friday, November 18, 2022

Heather du Plessis-Allan: It might be worth hearing National out on the boot camp idea


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.


Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

Experience in the army or a similar environment can internalise discipline and inculcate a sense of social responsibility. But what happens when they are released back into the clutches of their shambolic 'families'?

Martin Hanson said...

Interesting, isn't it, that the media are resolutely mute on the root of the problem - parenting. It's the legacy of 'colonialism'.

Anonymous said...

I just read an article where two youths in the U. K. forced their way into the home of a 26 year old mother and held her and her baby at knife point until she gave them some money. It's frightening to think that could happen here unless some effective deterrent is found.

Anonymous said...

I agree with HDPA. This is worth a try.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Bad kids and those “acting up” for social media fame get taken out of circulation for a few months. Maybe they don’t reform and go back to their old ways when they’re released.
So what?
At least they - and their useless parents - know that society doesn’t approve and there will be consequences.
What have the hand-wringers done?
If Labour had policies in place which were making a difference, even if only gradually, I would say let them continue.
But they don’t, and it is getting worse.
Give National a go and let them try this. At least they would be trying.
At the moment it looks like Labour has given up.