National leader Christopher Luxon has announced a major crackdown on young offenders with a new policy including youth offender military-style camps and a serious offender category for those as young as 10.
Speaking in Hamilton today he pointed to the increase in ram-raids across the country as an example of the growing problem.
“Sadly what we’ve seen since 2018 is a fivefold increase in ram-raids up and down this country. There’s a ram-raid happening every 15 hours in New Zealand,” he said.
Luxon went on to blame the current government’s “soft on crime” approach.
“They are not protecting the victims, they are not helping them."
“They are not delivering serious consequences to serious repeat offenders. So, I'm here to tell you that National says enough is enough.”
The party outlined its Combat Youth Offending Plan which includes four key components.
One is to create a young serious offender category that courts can then apply to offenders aged 10 to 17 years old.
“Those are offenders who have committed serious offences such as a ram-raid, aggravated burglary or serious assault, at least twice,” Luxon said.
“Young serious offenders under National, you will face consequences for your actions.”
National will also establish a youth offender military academy that will be delivered by the New Zealand Defence Force and other community providers.
They would target young people aged 15 – 17 years old who could be ordered to attend by the courts for 12 months.
“The whole point is that these youth offender military academy’s are going to be a total circuit breaker. They are there to provide intense structured programs including schooling, mentoring, drug and alcohol treatment but in a very, very disciplined environment.”
The other two areas of the policy focus on tackling gangs and empowering community groups to “break the cycle of offending."
“Gangs are not good, they are not nice, the reality is they peddle in misery and suffering on other humans and other citizens of New Zealand. They take all the rights but none of the responsibilities of being a New Zealander.”