“The number of youths in Corrections’ management is plummeting while ram raids rise, the Government needs to be up front with Kiwis about the full scope of the youth crime crisis enveloping New Zealand,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Written Parliamentary Questions released to ACT show that since Labour has taken office the number of under 25s in prison has dropped from 1,736 to 720, while the total amount in Corrections’ management has more than halved from 7,388 to 3,691.

“While these youths are no longer under Corrections’ management, what is being done to steer them away from a life of crime? The rise in youth crime suggests these kids are not getting the interventions necessary to put them on the right track, the consequences are just less severe.

“Youth Aid budgets have been cut by $10 million and officers have told me that these offenders have no fear of consequence. Much of the current crimewave is being caused by re-offenders which shows that not enough is being done to steer these kids away from a life of crime.

“After finally admitting how many ram raids are being committed under questioning from ACT last week, the Government now needs to tell Kiwis the rest of the story:

  • How many youths have been caught committing ram raids?
  • How many of these youths have been assigned to Youth Aid
  • How many of those previously caught have re-offended?
  • How many of those caught have escaped youth facilities?

“The Prime Minister should live up to her claims of leading an ‘open and transparent’ government and release these figures, so Kiwis know the scale of the problem that needs addressing.

“Instead, when the Prime Minister is questioned, we just get spin. Last week she told me she “disputed the suggestion that overall we have a proliferation of criminal acts by young people because there has not been evidence to suggest that.” Then a couple days later the Police Minister revealed that 129 ram raids had occurred in only three months, almost all committed by youth.

“Ram raids are one of the major problems affecting New Zealanders right now, and Labour has not gone hard or early.

“As part of our recent Law and Order policy launch, ACT proposed instant, practical penalties for young offenders, giving police the power to deal with offences on the spot.

“For every crime committed there is a victim who deserves better, and when youth is involved, the stakes are even higher – we can’t sit by while young New Zealanders become criminals.”

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