Leighton Baker –
The Conservative Party believes that our preoccupation with ‘rights’ with very little reference to ‘responsibilities’ has left us in a situation where some young people have realised that they can do whatever they like, with little or no consequence.
The consequences of the crime must outweigh the benefits, but when you simply get dropped off home after committing a burglary, or simply bounced between FGC’s (Family Group Conferences), the police and the courts, there is no disincentive, so crime continues.
The Conservative Party believes that we need to take a much tougher stance on youth crime, and propose the following:
(a) Lowering the age of offending for all charges, through the Youth Courts, to 12
(b) Come down hard on first time youth offenders, as a deterrent to committing future crime
(c) Overhaul the current youth court system, in order to address issues such as time frames for sentencing, increasing time frames for youth court plans and increasing the maximum community service sentences
(d) Reparation must fit the crime. If youth and their family are unable to financially pay full reparation costs, community service must be based on reparation required. For example, theft of a $1000 item would require 80 hours of community service. (Youth rates are $12.60/hour = 80 hours for $1000)
(e) Ensure that there are enough local community providers to oversee community service projects.
(f) Families with youth who have offended, be required to undergo free counselling, with a view to addressing and dealing with any present issues such as generational cycles of addiction, abuse, offending, and the breakdown of the family unit.
(g) Repeat offenders would be required to attend an age appropriate Boot Farm facility for twelve months. Further information regarding Boot Farms can be found
(h) An overhaul of the Adolescent Mental Health Services, to ensure adequate help and assistance is being given to youth who commit crimes in order to feed and deal with issues such as addiction and depression.
(i) Youth sentenced in the courts will have an educational achievement linked to the sentence as an incentive to personal improvement. This may include trade training, relationship training or core subjects.
Leighton Baker is Leader of the Conservative Party of New Zealand based in Auckland.