Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Time For Action -- Dr Muriel Newman

Time For Action -- Dr Muriel Newman

Muriel Newman Speech to Whangarei Electorate, ACT New Zealand

Last week's vicious attack on two tourists at Whangarei Falls is a grim reminder of the violence and crime that is rife in our city. That two of the attackers were children, aged 14 and 17, is a worrying reminder that crime can be intergenerational - learned behaviour passed on from one generation to the next, unless the cycle is broken.

While we don't know the criminal history of the adult attackers - two men aged 21 and 33, and a 36 year-old woman - it would be safe to assume that this violent robbery was not a first offence, and that each has a history of offending.

It is now well recognised that, firstly, offenders usually graduate to more serious crime, based on the fact that there were no consequences to the lesser crimes they committed - whether it were shoplifting, graffiti or disorderly behaviour. Secondly, a small number of offenders in any community commit most of the crime.

A few years ago, a senior Whangarei police officer told me that removing eight crime ringleaders would cause crime to plummet.

The criminal elements in our society have the expectation that they can commit crime willy-nilly - without the fear of being caught - and that if you are caught, the punishment will be akin to a slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket.

I, for one, think this is totally unacceptable. The Whangarei public should not have to tolerate the violence and crime that is endemic in our community. We should be safe in our homes, and on our streets, and visitors to our city should be free to enjoy their holidays without fear of crime. That means enforcing a zero tolerance to crime in Whangarei by requiring the District Council to work closer with police to ensure that effective strong law enforcement does take place.

A zero tolerance approach to crime begins by targeting crimes of disorderly behaviour, and other low-level crimes, that are the starting blocks to more serious offending. Left unchecked, such criminal behaviour is the precursor of the violent robbery we saw last week.

I am calling on the district council to do more than pay lip service to this problem -it is not good enough that, by simply engaging in community-based initiatives, the council thinks it is fulfilling its duty. It is not.

The mayor should be taking a stronger lead in reducing crime. As the local leader of our community, he should be working with police on a daily basis, reviewing details of all crimes committed on his patch each day and working of effective crime reduction strategies. He needs to know exactly what's going on as it happens - not six months later, when the "official" crime figures are released.

There are countless examples overseas of local body leaders working closely with police to proactively reduce crime in their communities. A perfect example is the city of Middlesborough in the UK, where the mayor has demanded that police get back on the streets and proactively patrol high crime areas. Further, he has spearheaded a campaign to, not only to clampdown on low level crime that intimidates local people but, crackdown on - and lock up - those serious repeat offenders who are crime-waves in their own right.

Every morning the mayor works with police chiefs to analyse yesterday's crime and work out an action plan to combat today's crime. Such strategies not only involve police, but the local council as well - ensuring sufficient street lights, enforcing liquor bans, removing graffiti and the like. By working in partnership, the police and local council have transformed Middlesborough from a crime-ridden city to one of that country's safest.

Last week's attack on the tourists at Whangarei Falls by some of our local thugs have done significant damage to our reputation as a premier tourist route and a lifestyle destination. It should be a wake-up call to our mayor and his councillors to stop sleeping on the job, dithering about trees and GE and to begin an affirmative action campaign to keep our city safe. We need a city we can all be proud of. Crimes like the one last week make us feel ashamed of living in Whangarei.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Supreme Court: Worksafe Decision On Whittall Pike River Prosecution Unlawful

The question in issue on the appeal was whether WorkSafe New Zealand acted to give effect to an unlawful agreement of this nature when it offered no evidence on charges against Peter William Whittall for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992...

The Supreme Court... has found that the decision to offer no evidence was made under an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution. It has granted a declaration to that effect. More>>


Cullen To Chair: Tax Working Group Terms Of Reference Announced

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election