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

Hager Revelations: Inquiry Into NZSIS Release Of Goff Docs

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced today that she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information to Mr Cameron Slater, regarding briefings provided to the then Leader of the Opposition, for political purposes...

“I am satisfied there is a sufficient public interest justifying the commencement of an own-motion inquiry into the substance of the issues raised with my Office,” said Ms Gwyn. More>>

Goff: Director’s Letter Contradicts Key’s Claims

At yesterday’s media standup, when asked on the topic John Key said ‘I wasn’t told’...
“In a letter dated November 2011 former SIS director Warren Tucker states three times that ‘in accordance with the usual practice of keeping the minister informed’ the Prime Minister had been told. More>>


 

Parliament Today:

Electionresults.co.nz: National and NZ First Rise in Roy Morgan Poll

National has bounced back in the latest Roy Morgan Poll but the big winner has been New Zealand First who rise to their highest level of support since September 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Fish Pun Warning: By Hoki! It’s Labour’s Fisheries Policy

A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. More>>

ALSO:

It's Official: Governor General Gives Direction To Conduct Election

The Governor General has signed the writ directing the Electoral Commission to conduct the General Election on 20 September 2014. This is the formal authority to run the 2014 election, and enables candidate nominations to open tomorrow Thursday 21 August 2014. More>>

Gordon Campbell: No More Mr Nice Guy

When future historians seek to identify the exact moment when the prime ministerial career of John Key hit the downward slope, they may well point to Key’s interview yesterday with Guyon Espiner on RNZ’s Morning Report. More>>

ALSO:

Dirty (Politics) Weekend: Collins’ Admission Reason For Key To Act

"Despite claiming that the evidence about her in Nicky Hager's book was ‘false’ Judith Collins has now been forced to admit that she did send information about a Ministerial Services staff member to Cameron Slater for him to use in a baseless smear campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Potential Disasters: Underground Coal Fire On Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished. More>>

ALSO:

Bikes: Nats Plan $100 Million For Urban Cycleways

Prime Minister John Key has today announced $100 million in new funding will be made available over the next four years to accelerate cycleways in urban centres. More>>

ALSO:

New Tax Bracket, Child Poverty Fund: Greens Launch Billion Dollar Plan To Reduce Child Poverty

The Green Party has launched a billion dollar package to significantly reduce child poverty in New Zealand. The details of the plan were released at the party’s campaign launch in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news