You may remember I was involved in a car crash back in April. Tomorrow I'm likely to need to go to court to testify against the young man who caused the crash.
To be honest, on one hand I hope I'm not required (the Police said they may have enough witnesses). Courts are such shaming places and the guy was really young — we've all done stupid stuff at his age.
I love this campaign. It speaks to the heart of an issue of fundamental importance: how do we create a strong, robust future society. Our children are that future. I submitted this to the #DearNewZealand website today.
I would solve child poverty by creating a culture where every kid has what they need, for free. Shelter, clothes, food, learning environments, safety and love. All these things should be provided for free by the Government.
The arrest of 12 and 13 year old boys for aggravated robbery and murder respectively in West Auckland a couple of weeks ago highlights a growing malaise in society. The incident itself is a tragedy for the victim and his family, but what is alarming to me is that the two offending boys are victims too — of whatever circumstances led them to offend and now, potentially, of the justice system as well.
The bi-polarity of the justice system, which recognises only victim and offender, clearly fails children in these situations. The stories of those like twelve-year-old Bailey Kurariki (NZ 2001), James Bulger's ten-year-old killers (UK 1993) and eleven-year-old Mary Bell (UK 1968), all of whom were charged and sentenced, point toward a "punishment system" that in no way takes into consideration that these children were too young to be held solely responsible for their actions.
A system that believes kids can be guilty of violent crimes without asking, "How did they become capable of violent crimes?", is one that lacks empathy and compassion. Having empathy and compassion for the kids does not diminish feeling for the victims. It simply acknowledges the existence of complex situations that don't follow "victim/perpetrator" patterns.
I seem to be giving the police a hard time this week. A few days ago I blogged generally about their role in society, questioning how much they contribute to social problems.
This week a couple of high profile incidents cause me to question again whether the police act in our best interests.
Firstly, the saga of Tame Iti and co's criminal organisation/terrorism charges which, after four years of possibly the most costly police investigation in NZ history, resulted this week in a hung jury.
...in a court of law.
What an embarrassing mantra for a civil society, where one is supposedly innocent until proven guilty.
I know a parent being prosecuted for theft of Government funding approved for their significantly disabled child, and I read of grandparents being denied money to care for their grandchildren.
I remember saying once at a political forum I addressed as a comedian, "If I ever get into politics, someone shoot me." I still stand by that directive.
But were I to lose all reason for some reason and start, say, the Diversity New Zealand Party, here are some policy ideas I'd like to rabidly bark out in true politician style, before I received a bullet to the temple:
This morning I was incensed to read that "an Auckland man has been jailed and his partner given community detention for dishonestly claiming nearly $26,000 (over seven years) in carer support payments for their disabled child."