Well, well. It seems Saint Jacinda, current Prime Minister of New Zealand, is retiring. Five years is enough in the top job and the tank (sorry, battery) is empty. There’s a lot be said for ‘finishing on your own terms’ with halo untarnished.
I wonder if it has much to do with the forthcoming election where Ms Ardern’s party is expected to be kicked out? But that’s just cynical me. Oh, and a few New Zealanders I know. There’s no doubt she scrubbed up well on the international stage (if you forget about kow-towing to China). Relatively young, female, unmarried, baby while in office, stay-at-home partner, unwavering support for recognition of Māori language and culture. It ticked lots of boxes for many but
” In substance, Ardern was a flop. She didn’t do the things she promised to do when first elected in 2017.
- She promised the government would build 100,000 homes, it built barely 1000.
- She was a big cheese on climate change, but New Zealand’s emissions, before Covid, went up.
- Public service emphasis was meant to focus on the regions of the country. Instead, all power, and many more public servants, went to Wellington.
- Ardern talked a good game on human rights in the abstract, but under her leadership New Zealand was a tiny, frightened mouse when it came to Beijing.” [source]
It will be interesting to see what happens over the ditch in October.
Over here in the wide brown land (parts of which are seriously soggy at the moment) we have a serious problem with youth crime. Car thefts, assaults, and break-ins are increasingly common. Many of the perpetrators are teenagers. Just recently Emma Lovell, a mother of two, was murdered in her own home during a home invasion. She was knifed to death by two teenagers, both just 17, on her front porch. Her husband was stabbed in the back.
There are loud calls for the criminal justice system to do more to put these thugs behind bars – and there are others arguing jail isn’t the answer. It probably isn’t. But there appears to be a great deal of sympathy for the perpetrators and not much at all for the victims. Shops and businesses in Hervey Bay are targeted again and again by these kids. Sometimes they break in and simply destroy anything within reach – computers, windows, doors, shelves – apparently just for the fun of it. They don’t steal much but the business is up for thousands of dollars in replacing what was trashed. Until the next time.
Even quiet neighbourhoods like ours are affected. Recently a teenage person at a nearby house said something to upset a teenage visitor who was there for a New Year’s Eve party. So, the visitor contacted a brother, who arrived with his mates, armed with batons, and trashed the house. Nothing will be done because the owner of the house will not press charges and since it was public housing, the taxpayer will foot the bill for replacing the broken windows and fittings.
There’s no easy answer.
Peter reckons the parents should bear responsibility for crimes their under-18 kids commit. It’s a nice idea but it would have to come with some caveats. Sometimes even the best parents have kids that are out of control.
I think it might be time to bring back school cadets and conscription. A couple of years in the army might straighten out some of this behaviour – and help to rebuild our seriously depleted armed forces. At the very least, let’s support the idea of military-style boot camps to turn these troubled kids around before they end up in jail.