Let’s get some interaction on crime plan

The Government has an Action Plan to reduce crime and reoffending, and it’s great they are going to have a go.

Instead of just promising to lock more people up for longer, or forever, they say they will work differently, including more closely with communities and iwi.

They have targets that may seem unrealistic — violent crime down by 20 per cent, hmmm — but hey, we’re not going to bag them for trying. The recent increase in drug and alcohol treatment for offenders is a good start. Alcohol and drug addiction is both a driver of violent crime and a leading cause of recidivism. Tackling this seriously will help to keep families and communities safer. And it is the community organisations and networks that can provide the government with the best information and help.

So what needs to happen as they pursue these goals is to engage with communities about how to make changes.

The newly formed Justice Coalition would be the perfect way to do that. It’s made up of 11 significant justice sector organisations. The coalition is a who’s who of people trying to make a difference in the justice area: Victim Support, Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Trust, Salvation Army, Restorative Justice Aotearoa, Community Law Centres of Aotearoa, New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform Inc, Henwood Trust, National Coalition of Howard Leagues, Robson Hanan Trust (Rethinking Crime and Punishment), The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, and Prison Fellowship New Zealand.

The coalition represents a diverse bunch of people who know the communities they work with and have incredible networks. I’d hate to see the plan only informed by ministers or officials in their ivory towers in Wellington. Advice can be circular in an environment where nervous officials tell their bosses what they want to hear.

If government can take a holistic view, bring in those who are the experts in the community and treat families with compassion, we can make real gains in keeping families and communities safer.

17 Comments Posted

  1. ….. Its the national party who support the crime makers.

    How many abused children are they prepared to tolerate before doing anything meaningful about our nations booze problem?.

    Detective Sergeant Kylie Schaare has dealt with some of the most horrific cases the unit has seen in the past 12 months.
    In one instance, an 8-month-old baby was beaten black and blue by his mother and suffered extensive bruising to his eyes, ears and face.
    Alcohol was a major factor in the bashing, which was apparent in a lot of physical and sexual abuse cases the unit dealt with, Mrs Schaare said”.

    National and John Key’s insincerity about resolving alcohol issues will continue to ensure a healthy violent crime rate.

  2. sugar and butter are not strong unpredictable psychoactive drugs which alters ( attacks ) the brain like alcohol does…..

    Butter and sugar does not raise levels of aggression or cause a psychosis like the drug alcohol does.

    people on butter and sugar do not kill and maim other totally innocent new zealanders through car crashes and violent crime like people on the drug alcohol do ….

    Its New Zealands No1 drug problem as the cold hard facts show and a very good example of how to poorly regulate a recreational drug.

    The booze pushers should be banned from donating their drug money to politicians.

    Its corrupted the process ……

  3. nznative, the leading cause of such outcomes is not the alcohol, it is the person who drank to the point of getting drunk.

    Why not demonise the suppliers of fat and sugar for the poor health of those who consume excess amounts?

    Given prohibition of alcohol has not worked (witness the illegal drug industry), why do people think that proposals to regulate alcohol will achieve anything? Especially when none of them include the targeting of those drink to get drunk. Why do middle class people propose that problematic drinkers can be controlled by minimum pricing? There is a lot of prejudicial stereotyping behind that concept.

  4. Any (former ) police minister who makes no mention about the leading cause of serious crime is either stupid or dishonest.

    @ nznative

    While I completely agree with your comment, my line re integrity was specifically about the potential for the ‘fix’ to be a rejigging of crime stats – something I sincerely hope Collins does not indulge in.

  5. The push back from the alcohol industry and their allies the national party has begun in earnest in the print media and this morning John Key was on breakfast tv and sounded like he was reading liquor industry spin and talking points. I only heard him for his last 90 seconds but he focused on the young people, mentioning them 3 times ( as if older Nzers do not abuse alcohol ), and then Key went bizzar and claimed girls would be more in danger of “drink spinking” and presumably rape if we raised the price of alcohol. Key is not only a a greedy bugger … he’s a freak sometimes.

    But back to the topic of crime and the drug alcohol.

    here’s the grim and deadly stats : • 31% of all crime in New Zealand can be attributable to alcohol (2007-08).

    • At least one third of recorded violence offences committed in 2007-2008 occurred where the offender had consumed alcohol prior to committing the offence.

    • Alcohol-related crime is estimated to cost New Zealand NZ$716.5m a year with NZ$200.1m alone spend on policing.

    • On average, 33% of all recorded offences are committed on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. However, when the number of offences where it is not known if an offender was affected by alcohol is accounted for, the overall most probable percentage is expected to be 46% of all offences.

    • Approximately half (49.5%) of all homicides recorded between 1999-2008 involved either a suspect or victim being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. 207 (42.3%) involved at least one suspect and 175 (36%) involved at least one victim under the influence of alcohol at the time of incident.

    • In 2005-06, net healthcare costs related to alcohol use only was $343m. The largest component of this number was inpatient hospital costs of $121.0 million, or around a third.

    • BERL estimated the social costs of the harmful use of alcohol in 2005-2006 (expressed in 2008 dollar terms) to be $5.3 billion, of which 76 per cent ($3.7 billion) were tangible costs.

    • An estimated 3.9% of all deaths in New Zealand in 2000 were attributable to alcohol consumption – approximately 1040 deaths.

    • Approximately one third of alleged offenders apprehended were recorded to have consumed alcohol prior to offending.

    • New Zealand reports on alcohol, crime and anti-social behaviour highlight that each year thousands of New Zealanders are harmed by other people’s drinking and many more are made to feel unsafe.

    • Data obtained in 2007 by Alco-Link showed just under half (49.8%) of arrests for violence-related offences involved an offender affected by alcohol as did 78% of arrests for disorder offences.

    • 2003 road policing statistics showed that alcohol-affected drivers contributed to a quarter of all fatal crashes and were also responsible for 1 in 8 injury crashes.

    • Drivers who were over the limit were three times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers with no blood alcohol, with males younger than 22 accounted for 30% of all the drinking drivers in road crashes.

    A lot of innocent victims and lives ruined in those grim stats regarding our No1 drug ….

  6. While some people who go onto be drug addicts had a lousy childhood, there are others who had it made then blew it seeking better thrills. Just look at some of the names checking into rehab clinics…


  7. Trever:

    Yes I am quite sure. No doubt severe drugs will have some ‘feedback’ effect, but drug abuse and damage in childhood are closely correlated – I would bet even directly correlated. Remember every junkie of all kinds is only trying to feel ‘ok’, and drugs are a somewhat desperate attempt at that. The deeper the pain the greater the struggle to feel ok, and likewise the greater the pressure to abuse drugs and become dependent.

    I recommend you look at the ‘bomb in the brain’ video/s for a statistical perspective, at the bottom of my Understanding Mental Sickness post:


  8. AA – are you sure you’re not confusing cause and correlation? Surely one of the drivers of drug addiction is exposure to addictive drugs? No exposure, no addiction.


  9. “Alcohol and drug addiction is both a driver of violent crime and a leading cause of recidivism.”

    And what is the driver of drug addiction? CHILD ABUSE and INFANTILE DAMAGE.
    Careful not to confuse causes with correlations.

    And until we get on top of child abuse, we are better off just throwing violent people away on an island penal colony. Because then at least they won’t be breeding, and screwing with other people’s lives, and creating a depressing social atmosphere.

  10. There is some irony to this as the emphasis here is probably a result of feedback during the WWG period.

    People have to be work capabale to be work tested, so improving peoples capacity to work required child care for parents and access to health services for those on the SB – including those with alcohol or illegal drug addiction problems. And many prisoners into and out of custody had untreated addiction issues that led to recidivism.

    Of course this will result in calls for drug use testing for those on benefits (when the process should be led by boosting addiction health service delivery first).

    However National still do not see the big picture – as they showed in ending the use of social work money in Northland for food in schools and their refusal to require insulation in rental proprty. Hungry children in unhealthy homes end up performing poorly in schools – this undermines their self-respect so they become truant and drop out, often into drug addiction. National should be making primary moves here, not simply pushing up preschool attendance rates.

  11. Juidith Collins has integrity??, not in this world.

    Any (former ) police minister who makes no mention about the leading cause of serious crime is either stupid or dishonest.

    And the leading cause of serious violent crime, family crime and sexual assults is the drug Alcohol.

    I heard Collins on the Tv defending this drug and its pushers ( the liquor industry ), actually The whole National party is in bed with the booze industry, just listen to John Key or Peter Dunne.

    Also Metiria falls into our modern Orwellian mind warp by referring to “Drug and Alcohol treatment”, alcohol IS a a drug. Its the number 1 drug and when it comes to crime it causes more than all the other drugs combined, ….. its aggressnigenic.

    The correct terminology should be ” Alcohol and OTHER drugs”, this puts alcohol first in recognition that it is the main problem drug, and it also does not provide separation or differentiate it from “drugs”.

    The booze industry and sympathetic brought politicians do not like Alcohol being called a drug as drugs and drug takers are bad and we have laws against them ……. .

    Anyway the easiest way to lower serious crime and prison numbers is to lower the levels of alcohol abuse, it would also save a lot of health resources too.

    Drug money paid from the liquor industry into the National party is proving money well spent for them and we can expect the Nats to do bugger all of anything meaningful against the booze pushers.

    Drug corruption New Zealand styles …….

  12. The whole issue of the ‘drug war’ needs review. If they put MORE effort into education, treatment & harm minimization rather than this failed policy of arrest, prosecute & punish, they may find a better result. (& a lower prison population too)

    BUT I get a little cynical, when I hear they are planning to build private prisons & that ‘treatment will be available mostly to convicted INMATES’..

    A whole new approach needed, NOT just this ZERO-tolerance & blinkered view that the drug war is working.. it is not & increasing numbers of countries (outside USA) are saying it !

    Kia-ora Koutou

  13. What’s up here – The Unsensiable Sentencing Trust isn’t part of the Justice Coalition?

    A good point though. To effect real change with this issue you need to be real close to the action.

  14. Is the actual plan available for analysis?

    All I’ve seen are press sound-bites with no actual plan or funding model being proposed other than the usual “using money smarter” guff.

    All we can hope is that effort would not be spent in reclassifying crime to rejig statistics. Though I don’t like her politics, I do trust that Crusher has the integrity not to pitch that as a solution.

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