National’s plan for young serious offenders

National is proposing ways of dealing with youth crime, during the election campaign:

National’s plan for young serious offenders

A re-elected National Government will continue its focus on keeping New Zealanders safe by cracking down on the most serious young offenders and holding negligent parents to account.

“Our youth justice system works well for the vast majority of young offenders and our relentless focus on reducing crime has seen the youth crime rate drop 31 per cent. However there remains a small group of around 150 young people who continue to commit large numbers of serious offences,” National’s Justice Spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“These are young people who have been in and out of Youth Court but have shown no willingness or ability to change their behaviour. We are not prepared to just sit back and allow their victims to keep racking up until they reach adulthood.

“We want New Zealanders to be safe in their homes, at work, and on the streets, so we will introduce a $60 million package over four years that will deal with the most violent and recidivist young offenders more seriously, to reduce reoffending.

Young Serious Offender

“We will introduce a Young Serious Offender (YSO) classification which will see this very small group of the most hardened young offenders dealt with in ways that better reflect the seriousness of their crimes and help ensure fewer people are victimised.

“As a part of this, we will establish a defence-led Junior Training Academy based at the Waiouru Training Camp. Judges will be able to order YSOs who commit serious subsequent offences to attend the Academy for one year. The Academy will support YSOs to address problems like addiction or a lack of literacy and numeracy skills, helping them lead better lives while keeping the public safe.

AKA Boot Camp.

“Those who fail to complete their time at the Academy will serve a commensurate adult sentence of imprisonment instead.”

It is estimated that approximately 50 YSOs per year will be sent to the Junior Training Academy. $30 million over four years has been allocated to fund the YSO scheme.

Other changes under the YSO classification will include tightening bail requirements, increasing the use of electronic monitoring, and removing the ability for these most serious young offenders to be released early from any youth justice custodial sentences.

A new National Government will also take further steps to help prevent less serious young offenders moving along the pathway to more serious crime.

“In many cases, young people who offend have few good role models or are given the freedom to commit crimes. We will make changes to hold their parents to account, including by allowing Police to issue instant infringement notices to parents of children under 14 walking the streets without supervision between 12am and 5am,” Ms Adams says.

“In addition, any breaches of court orders directed at a young person’s parent will be recorded on that parent’s criminal record. A loophole means this is not the case currently.

“We will also introduce a contestable fund of $30 million over four years for community groups to support programmes to reduce offending, because we know local solutions are often the best, and we want to give smaller or rural communities the opportunity to take further action.

“National is proud to be the law and order party, that is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe, supporting victims, and addressing the drivers of crime.”


This sounds like populist pandering type campaign palaver to me.

NZ First: Dog Whistling About Boot Camps Bit Late for National

Somewhat ironic for NZ First to be accusing others of dog whistling.

Serious youth offenders have been allowed to run amok under National, which is now panicking and pouring $60 million into a boot camp and community groups.

“It’s in a rush to herd them into the army and hide them, but dog whistling now about boot camps won’t save National,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“National created this problem by its lack of resourcing for the police and not recognising that many youth go off the rails at school.

“For many, school is not the best fit.

“New Zealand First would take these youth out of school, before they get into bashing and threatening dairy owners, and give them a chance.

“Our Youth Education Training and Employment scheme would put them into paid training in the Defence Force where they would improve their literacy and numeracy and learn a trade.

Labour Party: National should be tackling causes of poverty, not boot camp

National should be tackling causes of poverty, not boot camp gimmicks

Troubled young people need to know they’ve got a real chance in life, not thrown into pointless boot camps as the National Party is promising to do, says Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little.

“Fixing our chronic homelessness problem, sorting out our schools and giving young people meaningful work, like Labour’s Ready for Work policy will do, is the stuff that reduces youth offending.

“National’s policy is simply a desperate headline-grabbing response to a problem the Government has created through their underfunding of Police for nine years.

“Boot camps and infringement notices for parents are simply draconian and counterproductive. They won’t make a difference. They are punishing parents when what we need are new ways of intervening early on with families who have challenging situations.

“”These sorts of programmes don’t work. They just turn young criminals into fit young criminals.

“There are far better ways to tackle youth crime than boot camps, which National knows simply failed to stop youth reoffending. Going to Waiouru for a year doesn’t fix family poverty, poor education and other problems which lead to youth crime.

“We need to tackle the root causes. Under National, poverty and homelessness have risen dramatically. Real wages have fallen. Families are under increasing pressure.

“Labour has a plan to help vulnerable families through our expansion of Working for Families. We will tackle poverty because often that’s what turns young people to crime. Our mental health strategy, which includes placing a nurse in every secondary school, will also help at risk youth.

“Labour will also properly fund Police by recruiting 1000 more officers to keep our communities safe,” says Andrew Little.

Andrew Little? He is now Labour’s spokesperson for Justice.


  1. Johnno

     /  August 13, 2017

    Govt's own chief science advisor Peter Gluckman concluded in this 2011 report that there is "limited or lacking" evidence for boot camps— Jehan Casinader (@jehancasinader) August 13, 2017


    • Boot camps or keeping up a life of offending within dysfunctional family and destructive peer group with little to no supervision, boundaries or consequences ?

      Boot camps thanks.

    • NOEL

       /  August 14, 2017

      There have been a lot of studies in recent years and most suggests positive outcomes are generally elusive. Remins me of a guy we had when I was in the Army. All the SNCOs tried to change him but he left and later I heard he joined another gang and from there to prision.
      Can accept discipline as a tool for improving self disipline but it don’t work in changing the undisiplined.

  2. Blazer

     /  August 13, 2017

    Marianne Elliot ..on the money…typical Govt ..’initiative’..NFI!

  3. lurcher1948

     /  August 13, 2017

    The JACINDA effect, national in crises mode, or in other words billies facing his second defeat…

    • His much do you reckon the ad hominem, one line, clusterbomb approach to serious problems adds to this forum?

  4. duperez

     /  August 13, 2017

    So often we have been told by the present Government, about so many aspects of our existence, that research and data must inform our policy and actions.

    Just on this thread the latest announcement is called into question by not meeting those strict criteria. On the surface of it we are being treated with contempt.

  5. artcroft

     /  August 13, 2017

    If staffed with the right people, inspired by the right vision and resourced very well, this could work. Then again could just be a cynical political stunt to buy votes.

  6. Corky

     /  August 13, 2017

    As long as there’s liberal use of corporal punish it will be a success. Two things I remember from my younger days.

    1- skinny kids with boils who went to Health Camp came back fat slobs.

    2- Kids coming back from borstal after having been ”softened” were like lambs.

    The three R’s and no Maori culture will be a must.

    No Maori culture….yeah, right.

    • Gezza

       /  August 14, 2017

      Two things:
      1. As I’m sure you have said several times here, you are a simple person.
      2. If that’s all you remember from your childhood, the first thing is probably true.

      • NOEL

         /  August 14, 2017

        Long term memory pushes the ugly bits to the back.
        Think a little longer Corky and remember those unrehabilitated Borstal Boys with the tat.

        • Corky

           /  August 14, 2017

          Nothings perfect. Do you know how heath camps made kids fat? They force fed them milk.

          As for Gezza’s none understanding of Maori issues, the latest out bust from the Maori Party was expected. All I had to do was wait. I wont embarrass Gezza with a dissection of what was said. Suffice to say these two racist parties deserve each other. And to think, people vote for National and The Maori Party…..yet in the same breath talk of the racial violence in America.

    • Brown

       /  August 14, 2017

      The short, sharp jolt doesn’t work well because the ferals are not frightened enough. Turning up the voltage will fix that. It has to be ugly because being nice isn’t working.

  7. phantom snowflake

     /  August 14, 2017

    There’s so much wrong with National’s “new” plan for serious young offenders that it’s hard to know where to start. A few thoughts: -It’s likely many of these youth have had childhoods filled with brutality, yet we’re going to fix them by adding the brutality of 12 months military training??
    -For the (hopefully) small hardcore who have developed sociopathic traits; making them healthier, fitter and stronger will only make them more dangerous!
    -Regardless of how good or otherwise the parenting of those with “children under 14 walking the streets” is; fining them is implying that they can physically prevent the children leaving the house. Handcuffs or straitjackets anyone?

    Yeah, I was expecting the usual “TuffOnLauraNorda” BS from National; that old ploy to gain another 2% support from talkback callers, but it still pissed me off when it came. Rant over. Here’s a very insightful piece on the subject from Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw.

    • Gezza

       /  August 14, 2017

      When did you do your military training, out of interest?

      • phantom snowflake

         /  August 14, 2017

        My comment above represents a whole 3 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back & that’s all you got? (sniff)

      • phantom snowflake

         /  August 14, 2017

        Vicariously; I have a cousin in the Army.

        • Gezza

           /  August 14, 2017

          How does she like it?

          • phantom snowflake

             /  August 14, 2017

            Being a sensitive lad (familial trait lol) he’s really struggling but is determined to hang in there because of the free training on offer.

    • PDB

       /  August 14, 2017

      Snowflake: “For the (hopefully) small hardcore who have developed sociopathic traits; making them healthier, fitter and stronger will only make them more dangerous!”

      So we should cut of their arms and legs instead?

      “Regardless of how good or otherwise the parenting of those with “children under 14 walking the streets” is”

      Too many families don’t give a shit where their young children are in the middle of the night – these are the parents being targeted with this policy, not the parents actively working to keep their kids off the streets at these times.

      • phantom snowflake

         /  August 14, 2017

        Laws, not being sentient, are unable to distinguish between “parents actively working to keep their kids off the streets” and those who are not. In theory the new laws would apply equally to both groups; there are no guarantees as to how the laws will be administered.
        “So we should cut of their arms and legs instead?”. No idea what your point is here; please enlighten me.

  8. Missy

     /  August 15, 2017

    For those looking at the negative side of this ie: that there is a re-offending rate amongst some who attend these bootcamps I would ask the following:

    1. What is better all re-offending by not being offered a chance to learn skills and gain self worth, or only some re-offending after receiving these opportunities.

    2. How successful are other forms of rehabilitation? Do they have 100% success rate of no re-offending?

    3. How many young lives need to be turned around for you to think it is worth trying? 100%, 75%, 50%, or just one life?

    4. What are the comparisons of re-offending for youth offenders of boot camp against all other rehabilitation programs aimed at young offenders?

  1. National’s plan for young serious offenders — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition