More Policing - not the answer for NZ
More Police; More Policing - not the answer for New Zealand Dr Pita Sharples Tuesday 16 May 2006
"Again the Government gets it wrong" says Dr Pita Sharples.
"There is a terrible trend growing in our society for the hard-line approach to our problems and the Government is hell-bent on servicing these demands".
"More police, more prisons, stiffer penalties, a jail for twelve-year olds, preventative detention, more police powers to chase kids who 'might be' prostitutes or graffiti artists; and micro-chipping dogs so you can catch them after they've bitten somebody",
"When are we going to learn that the solution to many of the problems we face in our ever-so-small country will not be solved by force, by more laws and by still more laws?".
"One thousand police will not halt the domestic violence. In my electorate alone, of the last twelve murders of 2005/6, nine were domestic related; nine out of twelve people were killed by someone who loved them".
"As a society it is our responsibility to seek answers to why there is so much personal destruction within the family; this core unit of society which should be the greatest source of strength and support to individuals" stated Dr Sharples.
"To quote Judge Peter Boshier, 'We must ask why it is that some families seem to take within themselves, the most destructive and dysfunctional of behaviours, while others do not".
"The harsh reality is we must look at the communities we are building or, are we destroying?"
"Many of our small towns and big city suburbs are characterized by low per capita incomes; higher levels of unemployment compared to the national average; insufficient provision of meaningful social services, insufficient community support amenities, poor levels of educational achievement; higher numbers of low decile schools; a disproportionate large young populations; and a higher number of single parent families".
"Is it no wonder then that there are large numbers of dysfunctional families?" asked Dr Sharples.
"We need to invest in 'the family'; and not just some families, like the Government 'working for families' package, which selects certain families and excludes others who are sometimes even worse off. We need to build communities, not ignore them".
"Perhaps it is time to have a major review of Government spending through CYFS, Ministry of Social Development; the Department of Corrections; and all those Government Agencies which are ambulatory services.
"We need to be creative and to seek ways to give those floundering country towns a new lease of life. We need to create more choices and more opportunities for those city suburbs which are trapped in restricted community solutions".
"The emphasis must come off the "more rules and more dependencies" approach, and focus upon hope, development, nurturing and increased opportunity".
"We are a beautiful country - it is now time to become more embracing; more caring; more sharing, as well as beautiful".