“It’s time to restore the values of right and wrong. Police should be out in the community preventing crime instead of dealing with the latest youth offender breakout, and Corrections should be in charge of youth justice facilities to ensure offenders aren’t in a position where they can cause so much chaos in the first place,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Over the past week we’ve seen two different instances where armed youth offenders forced their way onto the roof of youth facilities and created chaos. The most recent event lasted forty hours and the offenders only came down after being bribed with free KFC and McDonald’s. In the first event the offenders broke someone’s wrist and were also bribed with KFC.

“A “large contingent” of police were called out to the standoff over the weekend. Police don’t even turn up to everyday crime anymore, last week a bunch of tradies caught a thief and were told to let him go because police couldn’t make it. Imagine if the police were able to go out and catch criminals and keep people safe instead of spending their time protecting young criminals?

“Instead, 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.

“Right now youth offenders know nobody can touch them. Sadly, they are even given rewards for their misbehaviour and their notoriety fuels a copycat culture.

“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.

“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 running these facilities.

“ACT’s alternative budget transfers responsibility to Corrections and funds the construction of 200 new youth justice beds. There needs to be facilities run by Corrections available to hold offenders accountable.

“As well as keeping offenders safely away from the public, Corrections is there to rehabilitate. We expect these facilities would be the first time these offenders have had access to mental health support and rehabilitation within a stable environment in their lives.

“It’s time to stop being nice to criminals and start focussing on victims. ACT’s plan would mean real change, real consequences, and safer communities.”

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