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Goff: National's Bottom Line On Crime - Dollars But No Sense

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Goff
Phil Goff

Labour Leader Phil Goff says the Government's decision to wind down Hamilton's Te Hurihanga youth offenders programme shows National's ambulance at the bottom of the cliff mentality of combating crime.

"The Te Hurihanga pilot is a last chance intervention programme that is turning around the lives of troubled youths and making communities safer, but National in its decision today has reduced them into cost units," Phil Goff said.

"The staff at Te Hurihanga are committed to ensuring there was a fence at the top of the cliff for the young people coming through their doors, and they have been making a difference. "Where is the sense in scrapping Te Hurihanga when the first graduates only came out in December 2008 and judges and police have described it as a 'godsend'? The programme was preventing young offenders becoming hardened criminals. "National promised New Zealanders that it would crack down on the drivers of crime but again the rhetoric hasn't matched the reality." Phil Goff said the promise of a cost effective alternative to replace the Te Hurihanga pilot shows National "doesn't get" the approach the programme set out to achieve. "It is about time. It's about spending time with these youths and changing nearly every aspect of their lives to ensure they are law-abiding Kiwis," Phil Goff said.

"Te Hurihanga was strict, structured and focussed on getting young offenders out of a cycle of crime.

"The young people are aged 14 to 17 and on average they have committed 25-30 offences but after passing out of Te Hurihanga none have so far re-offended.

"It was warmly embraced by the families of the young men who wanted to save them from a lifetime of crime and prison.

"Now National is promising young offenders its military style Fresh Start programme. That concept has been tried and failed and only produced fitter and faster criminals.

"I visited Te Hurihanga last week. It's a great example of a youth justice facility that is beginning to make a difference and making communities safer.

"National though doesn't see the long term benefits. Its bottom line on crime is all dollars but no sense."

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