INDEPENDENT NEWS

Six Month Crime Spree Highlights Failed Policies

Published: Mon 21 Oct 2002 11:36 AM
Six Month Crime Spree Highlights Failed Policies
The crime spree by eleven Hamilton youths who have broken into at least one house or car every day for six months provides fresh evidence for the need for alternative education opportunities, a central school enrolment register to monitor long-term truancy and a youth crime strategy that works, ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today.
"Police report that the ten boys and one girl aged between 11 and 17 have spent the past six months committing a crime a day each. They have broken into hundreds of cars and dozens of houses, stealing to pay for drugs and food. All of them come from families with a history of criminal activities. None of them goes to school.
"These eleven children are walking examples of the Labour Government's education and youth crime policies.
"How can eleven kids get away with not attending school for so long? Were they given `exemptions', like so many difficult children since Trevor Mallard became Minister? Or have they simply dropped completely out of the system? We must implement a central register of enrolled students so we know when children first drop out of school, and don't find out six months later when they've cost society so much.
"We need to dump the Labour ideology that choice in education is bad, and introduce independent schools that provide for children from circumstances like these. I refuse to believe that some children cannot be educated, but I strongly believe that having such a narrow range of educational opportunities for kids means that many who could achieve in other environments will simply slip through the cracks or be awarded `exemptions' to stay at home with the Government's blessing.
"The Government's youth crime strategy is a sick joke. Most kids who are caught for serious offences get away with a pointless family group conference. The police officers who caught them know that they will re-offend, but there's nothing they can do about it.
"Hamilton is not alone. The Education Minister and his fellow politicians must realise that today's truants and delinquents will tomorrow fill our prisons and live off the taxpayer. We must act now if we want to save heartache in the future," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

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