Garrett on Welfare and Crime
There were a lot of great speeches at the ACT Party conference in the weekend, but for straight up, kick 'em in the nuts, plain unvarnished truth, ACT Justice spokesman David Garrett is always hard to beat.
Here's some excepts from David's speech;
Welfare Dependency: A Principal Driver Of Crime?
ACT believes that the best decisions are made at the dinner table, not the Cabinet table...
The state does however, have one very important role - to keep people safe from criminals. This should be the number one priority for any Government...
The 2008 election rid us of a government of apologists. In 2002 Labour changed the law so that rapists and violent thugs could be released on parole after just one third of their sentence. Labour thought that if we were nice to them, they might just be nice back.
I am an ACT member because, unlike Labour, we are not a party of idiots. ACT is the natural home for those who believe in common sense law and order policies. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that tough action is the only language violent criminals understand. Over 92 percent of the population demonstrated that they knew this in 1999, when they voted for tougher sentences in a referendum. The other eight percent, however, took charge for the following nine years.
Recent statements indicate they have learnt nothing while in Opposition. On Tuesday, Labour MP David Parker spoke in Parliament about ‘the day when Graeme Burton re-enters society’. Well even Graeme Burton, someone who has killed two men and tried to murder several others, knows he will never be let back into society. That is, it seems, unless David Parker and his mates are let back into power.
It was also under Labour that Burton received his $12,000 state of the art titanium leg, courtesy of the taxpayer. Governments are supposed to keep us safe, not reward murderers. I am pleased to be in a room full of good people who realise this.
Back in 1997, the UK Labour Party had the slogan ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’. There is one particular cause of crime I want to address right now, and that’s welfare support for those who are of undeserving of it. They are relatively few, but they have an impact far beyond their numbers.
Many people say poverty and crime are linked. This is both completely contrary to the evidence, and an insult to the temporarily unemployed and working poor, who make an honest living and are trying hard to climb the ladder.
There are a good number of people who have it ingrained in them that this country owes them a living. It is after all, a country that, through welfare, has provided their parents with a living and is now doing the same for their own children. Last Monday I ran into Principal Youth Court judge Andrew Becroft in Christchurch. The previous evening he had given a speech in which he spoke of a ‘lost generation’ of children, the product of a broken system.
It’s a system that has given birth to killers like Bailey Junior Kurariki, done for manslaughter at the age of 12. Despite extensive efforts to rehabilitate him, he has reoffended again and again on parole. Kurariki and his ilk grew up with two terrible role models; their parents – when they are there - and the welfare I have heard beneficiaries refer to dole day as ‘pay day’...
Judge Becroft has said that the number of violent offenders the Youth Court deals with has doubled between 1995 and 2007. By definition then, the system that has produced that result must be broken. Governments are responsible for the welfare system that’s gifted us a lost generation, high in crime and bereft of values. I’m glad this government is making a positive impact where it must – in law and order...
‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ has been a mere slogan for far too long. It’s time to face up to the fact that ‘the causes of the crime’ are not just the obvious ones identified at the National Party’s Drivers of Crime conference last year. It’s time to face up to the fact that in its present form, the welfare state has - in considerable part - facilitated the development of a ‘crime is OK’ culture among some. Three strikes is a major shift in our criminal law.
It would not have happened without us. Reforming the welfare state is a much greater challenge, but in my view one that needs to happen if we really are to tackle the causes of crime. It will certainly never happen without ACT leading the charge.
Go David. You da man!