Waatea News Column: How do military boot camps, harsher Emergency Housing reviews and taking from hungry children help?


The Government has pushed ahead with Military Boot Camps for young offenders, while looking to limit access to Emergency Housing while looking to slash 30%-50% of free lunches in school.

It feels like we are going backwards.

Labour Party Governments and National Party Governments have locked New Zealand into an economic straightjackets by sticking to a 30% GDP debt ratio so we don’t fully fund our social infrastructure.

This new National/ACT/NZ First Government are funding a $1billion per year tax cut that benefits the richest amongst us by taking food from hungry children, narrowing eligibility for Emergency Housing and implementing Military Boot Camps that we know don’t work!

We’ve had these boot camps for young offenders before. Between 1981 and 2002 they had a 95% reoffense rate while when John Key implemented it again, they had an 83% reoffense rate.

When you consider the reoffense fate for prison is 70%, these previous Military Boot Camps have been counterproductive.

The drive to cut free lunches to schools because 10 000 lunches are wasted misses the fact that’s out of 220 000 students who get them!

Limiting the availability of Emergency Housing by narrowing the qualifying requirements seems incredibly cruel.

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“MSD staff assessing anyone applying for emergency housing will increase their scrutiny of whether they have unreasonably contributed to their immediate emergency housing need, whether they have taken reasonable efforts to access other housing options and whether they have previously paid their emergency housing contribution.

That is a means of throwing people off the Emergency Waiting List, not helping vulnerable people.

This is a way to shut out vulnerable people and make them homeless.

Taking from hungry children for tax cuts that benefit the rich, implementing military boot camps that don’t work and generating more homelessness are all strategies that punish the vulnerable for being vulnerable and because Māori are so over represented in these social statistics it demands a response that is far more holistic than draconian.

This Government;’s first 100n days has been a ventuiry if damage to our poorest brothers and sisters and I am yet to see solutions.



First published on Waatea News.


  1. It helps if to slew political polls in more illustrative and real directions than the hopeful moves previously. That’s one direct result – would it be a help to sharpen responses like a bucket of cold water in the face??

  2. When I grew up, boot camps were called Borstals, and they became famous for training a generation of young criminals and also for those same inmates being viciously abused in many cases.

    Last year Mongrel Mob leader Peter ‘PD’ Steffert died. To quote a news article at the time – “Chappie and his twin brother, “PD”, came out of the state care system. They started the Mongrels with a group of other former Borstal graduates”

    Borstals were an epic fail. They were closed down and also cost the taxpayers millions in payouts to the victims.

    This is just the usual useless dog-whistle bullshit from the government.

  3. Luxon, being a seemingly limited sort of person, refers to have-nots as bottom-feeders, and ergo undeserving. Every single one of these terrible steps backwards, impacts harshly upon the working poor, and they are the working poor because of Bill English and co’s low-wage economy. There’ll always be some who have to be carried, that’s life, but enacting policies which don’t work, and which damage children and young people to whom we all owe a duty of care, is malevolent. A PM who refers to the least of our brethren in inflammatory slang-speak like bottom -feeders, and is happy that some kids don’t get to feed at all, and that some of their carers have not been as adept as he at climbing the property ladder so should be tossed off it altogether, is socially destructive. If he thinks this is cost-effective, he thinks wrongly. Again. If he thinks that he is value for money, he thinks wrong. Again.

  4. the measures won’t help and are not intended to help, they are an expression of the average kiwis petty revenge fantasies.


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