“The epidemic of youth crime has gotten to the point where New Zealand’s news headlines could be straight out of the L.A. Times – ram raids, stabbing threats, brazen robberies. It’s past time for youth offenders to start facing real consequences,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“This morning Stuff reported on an Auckland family whose teenage son has been terrorised by youth offenders, being chased and threatened with knives. Amazingly, the Police say they can’t do anything to keep the boy safe because the offenders are too young.

“Meanwhile, at 10am on Saturday morning Michael Hill Jeweller in Glenfield was robbed by three teenagers with machetes.

“Youth offenders know they can’t be touched, the adults they work with also know this. That’s why the most brazen and risky crimes are increasingly performed by people too young for the Police to be able to deal with. The biggest loophole in New Zealand’s law and order system is a lack of consequences for youth offenders.

“The first job of any government is to keep innocent people safe, Labour has utterly failed. By not imposing any sort of consequences on these youth offenders they’re failing both the victims and the offenders, who will likely continue offending and progressing to more serious crimes.

“Labour’s approach to crime has been to get criminals and victims mixed up. Now we’re feeling the consequence of having no consequences for crime. It’s time for solutions and to put victims back at the centre of our justice system.

“The Government needs to show a clear pathway of consequences for young offenders, from instant practical penalties as proposed by ACT, to ankle bracelets for offenders, to secure facilities to keep offenders in if they do not comply with earlier sanctions. It then needs to get them back to school or employment.

“ACT’s Alternative Budget – A Time for Truth, invests $677 million over the next four years on creating and maintaining 200 new youth justice beds, under the control of the Department of Corrections.

“The fundamental problem with youth crime is that there is no place to take bad kids. They’re too young for prison, they’re known to escape from youth justice facilities, or they’re sent home to their families where they have a lack of guidance and discipline.

“It’s well past time for a change of values on crime. New Zealand can’t be allowed to reach a point where kids grow up thinking this is normal.

“ACT says if you can do the crime, you can cop the punishment. It’s time we got real about youth crime. ACT stands for real change, real consequences, and safer communities.”

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