Manukau: Youth Violence & Drugs Can We Handle It?
Youth Violence And Drugs – Can We Handle It?
Len Brown – Mayoral Candidate 2007 Manukau City
Recently a man approached me with a question – for the last 12 months there has been a tinny house in his street, close by his home where he and his family live. He would like it closed down. On several occasions he has asked the authorities for action. The tinny house is still there. He wonders if he should now move his home and live somewhere else. He is not happy. He is afraid.
Today the issue of youth gang violence and its effect on young people and their families is more widely understood across our communities. For the first time in decades there are signs that people in local communities are willing to step up and work together on these difficult issues that concern our young people. A positive recent development is the formation of Police Youth Action Teams to provide rapid responses to youth violence before major events escalate. This is going to help reduce the incidence of violence. It is also going to help with positive community building for young people at a local level.
It is good to see the Police actively engaging these issues. From a local community perspective I believe there can be real hope that their efforts, together with those of local people, will begin to see the attractiveness of the violence culture for young people replaced with something more appropriate and fulfilling.
We need some decisive action on drugs as well. It is increasingly clear to me is that the “free” access to drugs is ultimately the real enemy of youth and the destroyer of their future. Therefore let’s agree that now is the time for the Police to take out the tinny houses one by one until they are gone.
Walking away from a problem will not solve it. It is important that as we begin to increasingly share responsibility for our current problems of drugs and violence, we remain positive and not lose hope for our young people. It makes sense to do this knowing that there is decisive Police action designed to clean up so we can all genuinely move on.