“Five youths who attempted to escape a youth facility, damaged taxpayer property, and broke a person’s wrist in the process were rewarded with KFC? These are Labour’s values in action and they will doom a nation. It also shows why youth imprisonment should be done by Corrections instead of Oranga Tamariki,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Everyday people in New Zealand are terrorized by criminals in their workplaces. Their cars are broken into on the streets, they feel unsafe out walking, they pay their taxes and follow the rules. But their money is used to reward people who don’t follow the rules. At the heart of New Zealand’s crime problem is that failure of values.

“Labour’s priorities are reducing the prison population, removing three strikes, funding cultural reports for convicted crims pre-sentencing, and now giving KFC to escapees. Everything but the rights of law-abiding New Zealanders.

“Over the past two years, ACT has laid out a different vision based on better values. ACT believes in cause and effect thinking. We believe people who follow the law and do the right thing have rights, those who do not will face consequences.

“Our fully costed Alternative Budget funds 200 secure beds in youth facilities run by corrections. Oranga Tamariki is there to care for the vulnerable. Corrections is there to correct and rehabilitate. They are different jobs and Oranga Tamariki just isn’t up to the job of corrections. When there’s trouble, they put up the white flag and offer violent offenders KFC.

“Right now youth offenders know nobody can touch them. They now know if they’re really bad they might even get KFC! They ignore police sanctions because the end game is they’re untouchable. It’s infuriating for police and victims alike. They need to be told, ‘if you keep doing this, you’ll be taken to a place without your phone and it’s won’t be fun, you won’t like it, and you better believe it.’

“Once the Courts have a sanction that youth offenders don’t want, youth might listen to police. That’s where ACT’s Instant Practical Penalties and ankle bracelets for repeat offenders come in. There needs to be an escalation from minor infringements to serious offending, with the Police and Courts able to escalate their penalties in response to escalating offending.

“New Zealanders have had five years of being nice to criminals to see if they’ll be nice back. The results are in, crime is out of control and it’s time to restore the values of right and wrong.”

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