Waatea News Column: ACT – the freedom Party of small Government wants to criminalize students and encroach into schools

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ACT – the freedom Party of small Government wants to criminalize students and encroach into schools

There is a contradiction at the heart of ACTs sudden desire to manipulate public anger at youth crime. ACT are the ‘freedom’ party who want the State out of the lives of individuals, yet here they are intruding into schools with their wish to criminalise truant students.

It’s funny how it only ever seems to be freedom and small Government for rich people, when it’s the most vulnerable in society, ACT can’t strap on the boots to kick with fast enough.

We have just gone through Covid, mass illness and economic stress, there are a multitude of reasons why our truancy rates are skyrocketing and I can assure you fining students who are already desperate isn’t a solution.

ACT don’t care if this becomes counterproductive, because this isn’t about the nobel reasons they claim, it is about harvesting reactionary anger to youth crime.

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It isn’t about solving youth crime.

Right now many whanau and many in the community are suffering while we absolutely need our children at school and learning.

Let’s help one to solve the other.

Free breakfasts, lunch and period products will do more to attract kids back to school than fining them!

Let’s ensure uniform costs aren’t a barrier.

Let’s entrench renters rights to provide stability in those precarious communities while building many more State Homes.

Let’s ensure there’s free public transport for school kids.

Let’s ensure schools are funded as social hubs after school so that wrap around services have a direct access point for whanau.

Let’s absolutely solve Truancy, but do it rationally and in a way that encourages people to prioritise the education of their children at a time of heightened economic anxiety, illness and anger.

These ram raiding youth have a median age of 14, that means they are the legacy of John Key’s draconian welfare policies.

These are the kids who were living in cars, getting thrown out of State housing for false meth contamination tests and who had parents incarcerated in our private prison complex.

How on earth does it make sense to respond to the bitter harvest of heavy handed social policy with more heavy handed social policy?

There are about 100 ram raiders, 80% of whom are known to welfare agencies, why are we allowing fear driven by corporate news media to justify putting 10 year old children in ankle bracelets and fine truant students?

Let’s face the challenge in front of us without shying away from its enormity, but basic punishment ideas as social policy doesn’t work.

We are better than the solutions being currently offered by those attempting to harvest peoples fear.

First published on Waatea News.

22 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if we also need to look at the curriculum?

    Perhaps we should legitimise taking a break from high school, and allow free high schooling into peoples 20s? Let them attend when they actually ready to learn.

    We could evening classes, reduce class sizes and allow starting later in the day – waking up early can be pretty unnatural to teenagers.

    And as much as some kids are falling behind others are probably benefiting greatly from not being surrounded by kids who want to be there/can’t handle being there. Again, less “miss one day and you’ll fall behind forever” and more “being a teenager is hard, take your time and learn at your own pace”.

    We also need to engage kids in society outside of school, so they’re not just seeing all the bullshit they’re not involved in and acting out.

    • Waking up early is only unnatural when you go to bed late. Your ideas are worth exploring though as anything that can engage people in education is worth doing.

  2. Bloody hypocrites both Act and National are happy for our farmers to set their own emission targets yet they want to encroach on schools’ re- truancies. The government just needs to trust our schools and their staff instead they can help with funds to implement a truancy action plan if they don’t already have one and give them the necessary resources to deliver. Fining parents is dumb policy it will exacerbate poverty and add more stress on already stressed and stretched whanau.

  3. Bloody hypocrites both Act and National are happy for our farmers to set their own emission targets yet they want to encroach on schools’ re- truancies. The government just needs to trust our schools and their staff. The government can help with funds to implement a truancy action plan if they don’t already have one and give them all the necessary resources to deliver. Fining parents is dumb policy it will exacerbate poverty and add more stress on already stressed and stretched whanau. We have just been through a major pandemic for fuck’s sake, and it isn’t over yet. And pandemics effect people differently depending on their circumstances some have been impacted more than others.

    • Covid is pa, the poor will be hardest hit as I’ve said on this blog many times.
      I think David Seymour is disingenuous by blaming others but offering no alternatives and he’s the leader of a political party.

  4. All the things being suggested are being addressed by the Ardern Labour Government?
    They’ve had 5 years.
    I think they are applying their go to policy,do nothing.

  5. Bloody hypocrites both Act and National are happy for our farmers to set their own emission targets yet they want to encroach on schools’ re- truancies. The government just needs to trust our schools and their staff. The government can help with funds to implement a truancy action plan if they don’t already have one and give them all the necessary resources to deliver. Fining parents is dumb policy it will exacerbate poverty and add more stress on already stressed and stretched whanau. We have just been through a major pandemic for fuck’s sake, and it isn’t over yet. And pandemics effect people differently depending on their circumstances some have been impacted more than others.

    • Education is the only way out of poverty so it is important that the young get it otherwise the circle will carry on .Both Labour and National governments have not taken this on board. Labour have allowed an already shaky truancy officers to fall further behind through lack of finance. Parents as gardians of the next generation have to be persuaded by carrot or stick to get their children to school and then help them achieve their worth.
      These parents need help with money and resources if you read of the weekly wages being spent on broadcasting amalgamation the government crying poverty does not wash.

  6. Gosh, I hope David has consulted his constituents on this. i.e. Those who habitually take their children out of school to catch earlier flights thus avoiding the crush on the Friday evening before the holidays.
    Mind you, those parents could afford the fines.

  7. so the party of small govt wants govt intervention in schools…maybe truants are exercising their inalianable free market choice to fuck up their lives.

  8. Here’s a thing and perhaps off-topic ( Or not…)
    I read this as being a reactionary battle strategy from what’s commonly known as ‘The Right Wing’ and delivered via the Right Wing MSM that is RNZ to divide to cause chaos at street level while the Boys, and by ‘The Boys’ I mean those hyper wealthy in who’s interests it is to have our society heaving with the potential for violent distractions, instead of focused the real and actual problems of how nine multi billionaires could call the shots over a few million people still struggling under the weight of neoliberalism.
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/479734/independent-review-finds-systemic-racism-at-internetnz-following-maori-threat-video
    And here.Today
    RNZ
    Isn’t this jonky’s bankster? See what I mean?
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/479735/anz-lifts-home-loan-rates-with-floating-mortgage-rate-to-go-to-7-point-99-percent
    @ Maori and non Maori. Do we really hate each other as much as they’re trying to convince us we do?
    I honestly don’t think we do. So there you go then. They’re trying to manipulate the narrative to have us at each other and I say fuck that. Be divided and concurred or united and fighting the bastards!

  9. Our governments need to stop handing citizenship out like candy. As for those who want to raise the retirement age pull your f…. n heads in the evidence is there to show its not fair. If people want to bring their whole tribe in make sure you can pay for them if they have health issues we are not a charity. I see some retirement businesses are creaming it making millions at the same time crying for more foreign Nurses to make even more millions greedy cunts. Three strikes is not needed our judges need to give bad crimes longer sentences after all avenues have been exhausted. Oh but would longer sentences reduce the gravy train and who has benefitted from that gravy train exactly. NZers need to use their scone what happens after pandemics/epidemics to communities, people etc it ain’t all a bed of roses.

  10. Well you are dealing with the party that freaks out about teaching NZ history. Brooke Van Velden’s comments on that issue sounded like the tea party element in the Republican Party with their “ American exceptionalism”

  11. Truancy- there would be numerous reasons for that, and until all pertinent data is collected into a central database in a timely fashion, and analysed in depth, we are just blindly shooting arrows and making assumptions. Until we know who what where why when of the problem, it is ust gas lighting based on our preset biases. I like that Act has proposed such database. If their fines will work or not- is dependent on 5w’s mentioned above.

  12. Is it just me or is the right imploding?

    They keep playing to their base and dont seem to have a clue how to win over middle/left voters.

    Luxon came out today and emphatically said if we get in, we are going to raise the pension age to 67!!

    I agree we need to look at either means testing or ages or something to make pensions more affordable and also improve them but in the middle of a cost of living crisis? When the left is falling apart and votes are going begging and you only need to show some humility and awareness…

    If Luxon doesnt go before the election, I honestly believe the right cannot win and another 3 years of Ardern will kill NZ stone dead on almost every measure.

    Seymour has always been at the edges but Act and Natz cant see beyond their rivalry for right wing votes to see the flood of voters floating past their door.

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