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S Auckland gangs are the children of Rogernomics

28 October 2005

Sth Auckland gangs are the children of Rogernomics

The Green Party will today lend support to local efforts to tackle the youth gang issue in South Auckland, but believe that New Zealand's entire economic model must be seen as the root cause of recent violence, Social Justice Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua, a Pacific community leader, former gang worker and recent Green Party Mangere candidate, will represent the Party at a Mangere East Family Service Centre meeting this afternoon.

"It is not good enough to keep demonising the youth of South Auckland. We should instead be looking at the underlying causes of young people getting into heavy crime," Ms Bradford, who previously helped run Peoples' Centres in Mangere and Manurewa, says.

"These are the children of Rogernomics and Ruthanasia. Their parents' generation was deliberately dispossessed of job security, secure affordable housing and any sense that the social and political system gave a damn about them. The recent violence is a result of long-term deprivation and alienation from society - endemic poverty over decades, a lot of housing transience and early exclusion from education. Inherent structural racism, poor mental and physical health, and stress and violence in the home all play a role too."

"The Green Party believes that the root causes of poverty and alienation must be addressed by urgent Government action. An immediate rise in the minimum wage to $12-per-hour, not waiting three years; benefits that are enough to live on; more state housing in Auckland; more focused assistance to schools and young people so they are not so mercilessly and constantly pushed out of mainstream education; and a tangible and rapid commitment to ending child poverty.

"The Government also has to wake up and join the dots between its high-end economic policy and the resulting on-the-ground impact, such as a free trade policy that views the widespread loss of well-paid manufacturing jobs as acceptable collateral damage."

Rev. Strickson-Pua says people in South Auckland are calling for much the same things as the Green Party.

"Fair wages would go a long way to helping families solve the problems they are facing.

"Positive pathways for our young people are needed so they have alternatives to the gangs. Priority must be given to investing to families, schools, sports and all the rest of the social infrastructure.

"For me, as a Green from a Pacific and South Auckland background, sustainability means sustainable communities. While many people are doing very well indeed under the current economic and social support models, it is simply not good enough for whole cities and towns to be left behind," Rev. Strickson-Pua says.

ENDS

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