The Green Party’s hippies have their sandals in a twist over the idea of 'boot camps' for youth offenders -- not because they don’t work or because there are more important lessons for youngsters to learn -- but because the idea, says the Greens’s Kevin Hague, “unfairly discriminates against Maori.”
Oh please. If you could just put your macrame down and listen for a moment, Kevin: the boot camps won’t be taking people because of their race, but because they’ve committed crimes. Understand? If a disproportionate number of young Maoris are locked up, or placed in boot camps, then that’s because a disproportionate number of young Maoris choose to habitually commit crimes.
There are many reasons to object to boot camps, but this is not one of them.
And there are probably many ways to fix the problem of the disproportionate number of Maori committing crimes, but wringing your hands and throwing around bogus claims in the media would not be one of them.
It appears even Hone Harawira is beginning to understand that much, since his own knee-jerk “racism” button hasn’t yet gone off. If Hone and the Maori Party can see through the bogus notion that boot camps are racist, then maybe the hippies should try a little harder to understand why.
Now, having said all that, if the Greens really do want to get worked up about something that really is discriminatory on the basis of race, then they should object to the minimum wage law. Now that really does discriminate against Maori.
UPDATE: To be fair to the Greens, Green MP Catherine Delahunty (who plumbed new parliamentary depths with her maiden speech) replies to the charge above in a private email to a reader, saying there are other reasons as well for their opposition:
Hi Xxxxxx, the Green party is opposed to boot camps because the experienced
youth justice judge Justice Andrew Becroft and many other leaders in the
field of youth justice are categorical that boot camps do not work! The
Maori Party may support National's proposal but the Maori Party do not speak
for all Maori on this issue…
If you google "Finland and youth crime strategies" you will find some very
interesting articles on more constructive intervention strategies. We agree
that intervention is needed but also a need to get tough on the causes of
I did not hear the speech about the camps being discriminatory against young
Maori but statistically Maori youth are targeted far more often by police
and have higher convictions rates than any other culture for crimes also
committed by other young people. If you accept the prejudices in the system
work against Maori youth it is easy to see the connection…