There is something going wrong in Aotearoa
Is it just me or is there something terribly wrong happening in Aotearoa New Zealand.
I just can’t get my head round the number of homicides that have recently occurred. In the last week there have been two out West in Glendene and Te Atatu, one in Gisborne and one in Whangarei. The cases are all before the court and comment should be prescribed but you get a sense that drugs and gangs are prominant features.
This does not seem to be an unfortunate random series of events but more of a trend. There has to be a link to child poverty levels which are at crisis levels and homelessness the incidence of which has surged over the past few years. When even families whose parents have jobs are living in cars there is something terribly wrong.
If you need further evidence there is clearly a surge in crime with burglaries and robberies increasing by 15% over the past year. With the government conceding this week that it will have to spend $1 billion on building more prisons you know we have a problem.
And methamphetamine use is out of control. I see the effects every day. The drug is a scourge and is wrecking too many lives.
Even the Government is aware of the problem. It made a big deal about a recent $15 million package addressed at methamphetamine use. The money is coming from drug confiscation applications. Some will be applied to Police and Customs activity. $8.7 million will be used on health initiatives including some money for education and some grants to community groups.
The amount sounds large but is actually quite small. Funding for the health initiatives will cost about a third of the amount spent on the Flag referendum. As Colin James says the impression is that the Government is dribbling money around to create the impression that it is doing something about a major problem.
From his recent column in the Otago Daily Times:
A policy dribble does not of itself extinguish a hot spot’s ignition source. But it can dampen the political embers and quench qualms.
Any discomforted actual or potential National voters can take comfort that ministers are doing something.
Third terms usually generate more such discomforts than earlier terms. So get out your political umbrella. There will be more dribbles.
The problem with child poverty is that the consequences will exist for decades. And homelessness will often result in drug dependency and/or increased crime.
A Government wanting to make a significant difference would attack these issues head on. Not sprinkle small amounts of money around so that a press release with bullet points can be created.