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Help + harm = no change

5 February 2008

Help + harm = no change

Lawlessness has become a way of life in NZ. In particular, a hard-core group of New Zealanders have become desensitised from the real life consequences of their own shocking behaviour. There is murder and violence, disrespect and vandalism constantly in the news, on our streets, and in our homes.

Both National and Labour are using superficial vote-catching approaches for tackling youth crime and social problems. They miss the point by focusing on symptoms rather than causes.

Television violence, poverty, neglectful or just plain bad parenting, as well as educational failure and the 1991 Budget have all played a part in reinforcing alienation and lack of direction. But the ALCP say that a certain bad law has thoroughly done that too, and bad laws breed widespread disrespect.

Possession of cannabis should no longer be a crime. The ALCP is adamant that the most hypocritical and deficient law on our statute books - and the one with the greatest influence on youth alienation - is cannabis prohibition. According to the NZ Drug Foundation one in eight surveyed Kiwis is a cannabis 'criminal.' Amongst youth, the numbers experimenting has been found to be as great as 8 out of every 10 (Chch Health and Development study, Fergusson et al).

Feeding us all a law which is an ass (eg. alongside alcohol and tobacco) compels our most at-risk youth to deny any respect for civil society or family values. Authorities need to stop perpetrating this lie, particularly on all our young people, if we truly desire from them positive commitment, participation and contributions to this country. Reform of one law will substantially help regain the respect and restore the credibility of NZ leadership.

The ALCP say enable genuine 'capacity building' for New Zealand communities. People should be credited with possessing the intelligence to decide for themselves. While politicians have little regard for ensuring all laws work fairly, credibly and respectfully, its hard to understand why they expect people - especially youth - to have any respect for their authority.


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