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Councillor Urges Community Approach To Violence

Councillor Sio Urges Community Approach To Solving Youth Gang Violence

Manukau City Councillor, Su’a William Sio, is urging local & central government stakeholders to listen to the local community groups that are working to extinguish the rising level of youth street gang violence. “These groups are made up of local people who are totally committed to their community because they live there, they shop there, they attend church there, their kids attend the local school, and they are devoted to the local youth because their local community is there home,” says Councillor Sio. “And all of these local groups believe passionately that these young people are the future leaders of New Zealand.”

“The majority of parents are providing the best for their families, ensuring a learning environment, keeping a constant protective watch over their children, providing many positive activities such as rugby, netball or kilikiti, attending church, or cultural groups to help their children build a strong foundation for their future.”

Councillor Sio says that the failure of social & economic policies has seen the basic unit of our democracy under constant attack over the past successive years. The family unit today are fighting an overwhelming uphill battle against the outcomes of some of these socio-economic policies.

• The economic restructuring of the 1980s and the Employment Contracts Act of the 1990s saw many workers lose the protective benefits and conditions of their jobs and created huge unemployment in our local communities. The 2006 MSD Wellbeing report says many families have still not fully recovered from the impact of this era;
• The introduction of casinos & pokie machines into New Zealand from 1994;
• The proliferation of sales of liquor and alchohol from the 1990s;
• The lowering of the age of drinking;
• The widening income gaps amongst Maori & Pacific communities in the face of high interest & inflationary costs;
• The creation of high consumer demand through strategic & targeted advertising;
• Etc,

While many will argue these changes provide community with lifestyle choices, others will say these changes prey on the weak, the poor, the needy, and the uneducated, who themselves exist as a result of these changes.

As a society we are facing serious issues in our community and we all have a role to play to improve things.

It disturbs me when I hear people blame Maori and Pacific communities for the violence on the street. We are all responsible as a community, and we all need to play our part well.

Councillor Sio is the political sponsor of the Otara Youth Action Group which established the Otara Youth Core project in October 2005 to respond to youth violence & street gangs. This project is now funded by MSD for 4 years to enable youth workers to work with young people in the Otara community and to support the local schools and other initiatives.

Otara Youth Core link in with other local groups who have a specific focus in other hotspot areas such as Mangere, Papatoetoe, Clendon & Manurewa in Manukau City.

Maugakiekie MP Mark Gosche and Auckland City Councillor Leila Boyle are providing strong leadership to the Otahuhu-Mt Wellington areas.


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