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How Many More Young Lives Must Be Lost?

Media Release
12 November 2003

How Many More Young Lives Must Be Lost?

“The headline is hard to miss ‘15-year-old killed running a drug house’ yet it seems that this Government is continually missing the point when it comes to New Zealand’s horrendous youth drug and crime statistics,” said youth affairs Spokesperson Craig McNair.

“The boy, one of nine children, was naturally talented at sport and looked up to his brother who was a national boxing champion. But he dropped out of school at third form level and entered an apprenticeship in crime, taking the risk of selling drugs to mainly unknown customers in a gang tinny house.

“The question must be asked – Where are we going wrong with these kids?

“There is certainly no clear answer but we do know that growing up without education, job prospects, self-discipline or direction is a recipe for disaster,” said Mr McNair.

“Too often these young people come to the attention of government agencies at an early age only to be placed in the ‘too hard basket’ and sent back into at-risk environments under-equipped with the personal skills and resources needed to create positive choices in their lives.

Less than a week ago New Zealand First renewed calls for an apolitical and cooperative approach to dealing with young people.

“How many more young lives must be lost to drugs and crime before the government will admit that their systems are failing the youth of our country?” asked Mr McNair.


ENDS

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