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Insurance Council Applauds Government Initiative

The Insurance Council has today supported the Government initiative to establish a taskforce on youth offending.

The Council believes a co-ordinated package of initiatives to reduce youth crime will be beneficial to all New Zealanders. The Council is also heartened the Government is showing a real commitment to law and order issues. In particular, it appears to be committed to a sustained effort to reduce the likelihood of children finding a career in crime and beginning criminal activities at an early age.

Statistics and investigations indicate that young repeat offenders frequently move on to far more serious crimes. If they are identified at a young age and receive rehabilitation and education potential lives of crime can be turned around.

The Insurance Council believes the current Government is showing real commitment, through its justice and police portfolios, to making New Zealand a safer place in which to live.

Insurance Council members believe that as a consequence of initiatives by both the Minister of Justice Phil Goff and the Minister of Police, George Hawkins, there is an increased emphasis on seeking long-term solutions to law and order problems in New Zealand.

Insurance Council members have noticed a steady increase in burglaries and theft from homes and of motor vehicles in recent years. Frequently investigations have indicated that young offenders between the ages of 10 to 16 are committing large numbers of thefts. Often these children move on in the escalating scale of crime to assaults, sexual offending and potentially even murder.

Last year, Insurance Council members paid New Zealanders out $1 billion. For claims on motor vehicles, members of the Insurance Council paid out $456 million. A further $258 million for personal property claims and losses relating to people's homes.

Insurance Council Chief Executive Chris Ryan says these sorts of claims show the huge losses that ordinary New Zealanders can incur as a result of the activities of criminals. The current initiative should set the balance back in favour of law-abiding New Zealanders.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Christopher Ryan, Chief Executive
Tel (04) 472 5230; Mobile, (025) 441 767

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