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Big Party Crime Speeches Short Change Families

Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Thursday, 31st January 2008


Big Party Crime Speeches Short Change Families

An Independent MP says the big political parties are not addressing the real cause of “mad January’s” violent crime wave.

Gordon Copeland welcomes Helen Clark’s and John Key’s intentions but says their initiatives shut the door after the horse has bolted.

“It is ironic that with the country now facing an unprecedented upward spiral of violence, that the big parties are still resorting to an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach,” said Mr Copeland.

“Whilst it is important to do more for 16 and 17 year olds, neither party is actually getting back to the root cause of the problem which is the initial formative years of a child’s life.”

He says the country is paying the price of successive National and Labour neglect of support for families and the parenting of young children.

“I have been advocating strategies that address the root cause; namely the need to up-skill parents starting before a child is born and then continuing and refreshing that right through the child’s formative years.”

Mr Copeland, who will be standing for the Kiwi Party in this year’s election, says research shows the first seven years of a child’s life are the most important. “They are the learning years which set the course for their future.” Literacy was also a key issue. Mr Copeland says “The top 20 per cent of students that are leaving our schools are world class but the bottom 20 percent are functionally illiterate.”

His policy had four key points: “Address the issues of fatherlessness, up-skill marriages, empower parents and teachers, and get back to discipline and respect.” He would implement those via government funded courses which would continue through all school years – not just early childhood. Organisations with a good grasp of the issues such as faith based communities and iwi, would be funded to deliver these courses, he says.

Supporting Mr Copeland’s position, Plunket this week also called on political parties to focus on early years. Their CEO Paul Baigent announced that focussing investment in early childhood was vital for society “We have to commit to it now - every single one of us.”

ENDS

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