Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


“Face of Looting” actually a face of system failure

2 March 2011

“Face of Looting” actually a face of system failure and lack of awareness.

Autism New Zealand Chief Executive Alison Molloy says that Arie Smith, the 25 year old young man with Asperger’s Syndrome who has been charged with looting after the Christchurch Earthquake, is not the face of looting. He represents a lack of awareness of autism and the failure of society to accommodate a diverse range of needs.

“Everyone is aware that the people of Christchurch have been through a devastating experience in the recent earthquake and that behaviour such as looting is not acceptable. This has been acknowledged by Arie’s family. However, we believe that the Earthquake should not be a reason for media to lose a sense of perspective by making Arie the scapegoat for all unacceptable behaviour in Christchurch.

Ms Molloy points out that a characteristic of Asperger’s Syndrome is an almost obsessive interest in a hobby or collecton – such as light fittings in the case of Arie. Research also shows that for people with Asperger’s, the focus in terms of actions may not be linked to consequences – so while Arie might have been aware that what he was doing was wrong logically, he may not have connected his action to the possible consequence of being arrested.

Autism New Zealand is also very concerned that Arie has been imprisoned “without any help” and that threats of violence have been made against him without full knowledge of the circumstances.

“Arie Smith is the tip of a very large iceberg”, Ms. Molloy continued. “There are many people with Asperger’s Syndrome and other forms of ASD who are only receiving much needed support when they reach a criminal justice and state support system which is not equipped to meet their needs. This is an untenable situation.”

“But right now our focus should be on supporting people such as Arie Smith. He will be sitting in a prison cell scared, frightened and trying to figure out an incredibly complex social situation. Autism New Zealand wants to work with the justice system, Work and Income and Child, Youth and Family to support people on the spectrum and their families. But we also believe that all New Zealanders need to stop for a moment and consider the case of Arie Smith and the lack of awareness which caused him to be “the face of looting.”

“On a positive note, we wish to commend the New Zealand Herald and their reporter Jared Savage for going behind the dramatic headline and trying to understand the complexities of this situation. Factual reporting such as this goes a small way to increasing the awareness of autism which would be so useful in a case such as that of Arie Smith”, Ms. Molloy concluded.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On War Crimes And The Afghan Insurgency

Truly, with friends like former defence Minster Wayne Mapp, the SAS does not need enemies. At the very least, the Hit and Run book has raised the possibility that the New Zealand SAS committed war crimes in the attack they led in Afghnistan upon the villages of Naik and Khak Khuday Dad...

Mapp’s attempted defence of the SAS on RNZ this morning unintentionally indicated that collective punishment was baked into the planning exercise for the raid, and also into how the raid proceeded on the ground. More>>

 
 

Little Heading For Court: Apology Over Donation/Hotel Contract Claims Not Accepted

Today I want to publicly apologise unreservedly to Mr Hagaman for any hurt, embarrassment or adverse reflection on his reputation which may have resulted from my various media statements. I have offered that apology to the Hagamans. More>>

ALSO:

Biscuit Tin Of Democracy: World Heritage Site Protection, Ombudsman and Equal Pay Bills Drawn

On Thursday, 23 March 2017 three places are available on the Order Paper for the first reading of a Member’s bill. The ballot was held, and resulted in the following bills being drawn... More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Plan: NZ Needs More Science, More Trees, Fewer Beasts

A combination of technology breakthroughs, much more plantation forestry, and a big switch away from pastoral, particularly dairy farming, are identified as the key elements of any approach New Zealand takes to reducing its carbon emissions to a net zero level, according to a new report sponsored by the New Zealand chapter of GLOBE, a multi-party, global parliamentary grouping. More>>

ALSO:

"Backed To Win Seats": Labour Māori Seat MPs Won't Stand On List

The Labour Party is backing a request from its Māori seat MPs to stand as electorate MPs only, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

OutsKey: John Key's Valedictory Speech

I rise to address this House for the very last time. It has been a huge privilege to have served the people of Helensville as their member of Parliament, and, of course, the people of New Zealand as their Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Productivity Commission: New Models Of Tertiary Education Are Coming

The report is a broad-ranging inquiry into how well New Zealand’s tertiary education system is set up to respond to emerging trends in technology and the internationalisation of education, and changes in the structure of the population, and the skills needed in the economy and society... More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Water Everywhere

Monday's Post-Cabinet press conference focused on water, with the Prime Minister fielding questions about the possibility pricing water taken for export. Mr English said the government was directing their water allocation technical advisory group to include export water in considerations. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news