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Youth gangs: Expand, review - what's new?

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

19 September 2006

Youth gangs: Expand, review - what's new?

The Government's much-heralded moves to tackle youth gang issues in South Auckland are positive but most do not offer anything new, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

"Perhaps the reason for the lack of real action is the fact that when the Minister of Justice asked for a briefing about youth gang activity last year, he was told that the Counties Manukau Youth Offending Team had 'not reported youth gangs as a youth offending issue of concern to them since the Team's inception in 2002'.

"The Plan of Action for youth in Counties Manukau is classic Labour Government style over substance, and I wonder if anything will change for kids in this area tomorrow as a result of the Minister's announcement today.

"A large proportion of the 26 action points are either extending existing programmes or reviewing their effectiveness."

The plan expands:
* Youth Offending Teams.
* Capability of CYF youth justice services.
* Police links with Maori wardens.
* Police Alcohol Action Plan.
* Family Start.
* Youth Transitions Services.
* The number of community based youth workers.
* Provision of parenting programmes.

The plan reviews:
* Turn Your Life Around programme.
* Genesis intervention programme.
* Male Youth New Directions programme.
* Drug and alcohol services for young people.
* Provision of family support services.
* Budgeting services.
* Youth support service gaps.

"About the only new thing they are doing is establishing focus groups with young people - which is Labour's first response to most issues," says Mr Power.


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