Poll: Majority support boot camps for serious youth offenders

December 8, 2022

A majority of Kiwi voters would support military boot camps for serious youth offenders, the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll shows.

Respondents were asked: "Do you think young people should be sent to military boot camps if they are serious offenders? This would involve young people aged 10 to 17."

A 60% majority said yes, 31% said no, and 9% didn't know or refused to answer.

The results of the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll on military boot camps for serious youth offenders.

Those more likely than average (60%) to support the idea include National voters (81%), ACT voters (77%), women aged 55+ (67%) and Aucklanders (65%).

Those more likely than average (31%) to oppose the idea include Green voters (71%), Wellingtonians (46%), Labour voters (44%) and those aged 18-29 (39%).

'Serious consequences for serious offenders' - Luxon

National leader Christopher Luxon.

It comes after National last month proposed year-long 'military academies' for some young offenders.

Asked about today's poll results, National leader Christopher Luxon told 1News it was a "common sense idea" and the public "want serious consequences for serious offenders".

"Get them on the right track; for that to happen, they need discipline, they need structure, they need boundaries, the military academies are a good idea," he said, adding that "Labour's doing nothing".

A military camp.

"I'm just not prepared to accept that New Zealand has to accept these levels of crime that we're experiencing...we have to do something about it.

"We care deeply about these young people, we want them to turn their lives around but they won't do it without an intervention."

'It's not supported by the data' - expert

Sociologist and gangs researcher Jarrod Gilbert.

Sociologist and gangs researcher Jarrod Gilbert - who has spoken against the idea before - reiterated his view today.

"The evidence we've got...shows that they have at best, a moderate influence, a very small influence," he told 1News.

"But largely they have no influence at all - and in small incidents they can actually make the problems worse, which is remarkable."

He said the public are "screaming for answers" and this looks like an answer, but "it's not supported by the data that we have".

Govt's plan to curb youth crime

Police minister Chris Hipkins.

The poll results come as the Government today announced a new fast-tracked plan to curb youth crime.

Police Minister Chris Hipkins said this approach will see re-offending go down and crimes like ram-raids occur less often.

"We want to make sure we've got a faster set of interventions so that they're seeing the consequences of their offending more quickly.

"It's a set of programmes that we know work," he said today, adding ram-raid offending has already dropped since August.

"So this much more intensive approach is actually delivering benefits already."

Between November 26-30, 2022, 1011 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (503) and online, using online panels (508). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region, education level and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialling using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel.


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