Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Radical Youth Response to Youth Gang Violence

2 November 2005

Radical Youth Response to Youth Gang Violence

We’re most disturbed to hear about the recent spate of senseless youth gang violence in Auckland.

While we realise there are many complex reasons behind the existence of youth gang culture, the recent incidents highlight the need for several important issues to be raised.

Both Labour and National governments of the past 20 years have seriously failed New Zealanders in low income communities.

The neo-liberal reforms of Roger Douglas in the 1980s and Ruth Richardson in the 1990s caused the highest rates of unemployment since the Depression and destroyed many people’s hope of finding secure full time employment.

Today rather than having a secure well paying full time job, many parents work several poorly paid part time jobs just to get by. This leaves them with little time to spend with their children and even less time to help out with community groups for youth, such as sports clubs. Youth gangs fill the void left by the loss of community groups and time with family.

New Zealand still has a highly disturbing rate of child poverty. A recent report by UNICEF ranked our nation fourth worst on an OECD child poverty league table. The report stated that one in six young New Zealanders live in poverty.

Some commentators in the mainstream media have blamed hip hop culture for the recent violence. It is simplistic to blame all hip hop. It is a musical genre perfect for expressing one’s feelings and has much to offer society as an artistic medium.

However, the mainstream media for many years has peddled American ‘gangsta hip hop’ to the masses. There is a line between those skilled artists who rap about the harsh realities of life on the street and those manufactured hip hop artists who glamourise gang violence to make huge profits for multinational record companies.

These manufactured hip hop stars rap about how tough life is and how it is normal to settle disputes with violence but then earn millions of dollars from record and advertising contracts. Advertisers pay them to drive pimped out Hummers, wear expensive jewellery and to market labeled clothing and footwear. Never before has the line between music and advertising been so fine.

This American cultural imperialism has influenced youth gang culture in New Zealand to such a degree that many of the gangs have taken their names from street gangs in Los Angeles and New York.

The government should be working to end child poverty in New Zealand. Welfare benefits should be raised, as since the heartless 1991 benefit cuts they have been at a level unfit to survive on. Forget about ‘free trade agreements’, we should be trying to create decent jobs for people in New Zealand. In the past we used to employ people making things, not stacking the shelves of the Warehouse.

The police getting tough on youth is not the solution to this problem. Heavy handed police actions will only make youth feel more alienated from their communities and therefore more likely to join gangs. We need to treat the causes of society’s problems - not just the symptoms. In the USA heavy handed policing against youth crime has had the effect of criminalising a whole generation and has not abated youth violence.

Rather than joining gangs, young people should become familiar with and raise their voices against the forces which are marginalising low income communities, not only in New Zealand but around the world, such as poverty, the rule of multinational corporations and poor government policies.

If youth become active in making decisions on important issues which affect their lives and their communities then they will lose the senses of hopelessness and boredom which are driving some to commit senseless acts of brutal violence.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Rivals For The Covid Saliva Testing Dollar

If you want a good insight into what the limits of tiny, barely discernible steps to reduce poverty actually look like, delve into the latest Statistics Department figures on poverty in New Zealand Most of the nine measures utilised reveal little or no progress in combatting poverty over the 21 months to March 2020... More>>


 

Government: Reserve Bank To Take Account Of Housing In Decision Making

The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into ... More>>

ALSO:


RNZ: Alert Levels Remain

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says at least half of the Papatoetoe High School community have been tested and the results that have come through so far have all been negative... More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: Latest Release Of Child Poverty Statistics

All measures of child poverty were trending downwards, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, across the two years since year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. The COVID-19 lockdown in late March 2020 affected Stats NZ’s ability to collect data from households ... More>>

ALSO:


NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

The Dig: An Illogical Ideological Struggle

Dig beneath all the trade wars and the arguments to the effect that the USA should not permit China to achieve economic and technological superiority, or even parity, and you find the real reason behind the conflict... More>>

Travel: Government Eases Visa Restrictions For Visitors In New Zealand

Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration has announced. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels