Salvation Army State of the Nation

February 12th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Crime is at a 34-year low, incomes and employment are rising and teenage pregnancy has plunged, a new report on the state of our nation shows.

Research by the also shows infant mortality is the lowest in our history, achievement gaps between rich and poor schools are closing, gambling is declining, and Auckland’s housing shortage is finally starting to ease as house-building recovers from the recession.

Even child poverty may be declining, although it’s too soon to be sure.

This is a report from the Salvation Army, not the Government. Not bad.

But other problems are not budging. Child abuse is still rising, New Zealand’s imprisonment rate remains one of the highest in the world, the Salvation Army is still giving out more food parcels, and household debt is increasing again after briefly dipping in the recession.

I’m not sure child abuse rates are still rising and the imprisonment rate is dropping.

Tags:

40 Responses to “Salvation Army State of the Nation”

  1. mandk (1,015 comments) says:

    Worthwhile report, given that the Salvation Army is one of the more politically disinterested observers.

    Household debt is a curious measure of social welfare. Increasing debt may simply indicate that everyone feels the good times are back.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. kowtow (8,733 comments) says:

    What child poverty?

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. stu-tron (45 comments) says:

    With a lot of media coverage on child abuse and work done by groups like Child Matters it may be a case of more Child Abuse is now being reported – not that the incidents are rising but that people are actually doing something about it instead of ignoring it.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Longknives (4,858 comments) says:

    ” New Zealand’s imprisonment rate remains one of the highest in the world, ”

    Why does everybody bleat on about this like it is a bad thing?
    New Zealand has a truckload of violent and dangerous criminals.
    Violent and dangerous criminals should be behind bars. End of story.

    Vote: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Longknives (4,858 comments) says:

    And for the umpteenth time there is NO fucking ‘Child Poverty’ in New Zealand.
    Mum spending all her DPB on the pokies and booze and not bothering to feed her six kids is NOT ‘Child Poverty’ …

    Vote: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    Let’s see: “Crime is at a 34-year low” and at the same time “New Zealand’s imprisonment rate remains one of the highest in the world”.

    Seems the system is working, then.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    Crime has been falling all over the west for the past 20 years, it peaked in 1991.

    It feel under National it continued to fall under Labour. It’s a reflection of demographics and age populations. Nothing more.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    I’m not sure child abuse rates are still rising and the imprisonment rate is dropping.

    The State of Nation report has graphs based on CYFS notification data. See page 18 and following.

    Also, they don’t claim the imprisonment rate is increasing. They claim it is high. It is, compared to other countries.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Keeping Stock (10,406 comments) says:

    @ Longknives (10.16am) – I disagree; poor parental decisions DO impact on children, who deserve better. Accident of birth is pretty brutal.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. stephieboy (3,379 comments) says:

    kowtow (6,313 comments) says:
    February 12th, 2014 at 10:12 am

    “What child poverty?”

    I take it your in full cognizance of the issue working closely amongst affected children and their families .?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    Crime is not at an all time low .. reported crime is at an all time low because we make it harder for people to report crime.

    police stations used to be open 24/7 now 9. to 4 the majority of stations and only a hand full of 24 hour stations.

    We used to drive to peoples homes to take complaint now you have to come in. too bad if you work between 9 and 4 and then you will wait at the counter for at least 40 minutes.

    clearance rates are up because we take complaints only when we have offenders the rest are called “Civil ” matters and you are sent off to a lawyer .

    and police don’t investigate like they used to and you have to come in to the station with the offender and confession in hand before they will take a complaint.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Matt Long (90 comments) says:

    Demand for food parcels keeps increasing? Try this; everyone applying for a food parcel needs to present proof of an hour of volunteer work for an approved charity. Watch demand evapourate.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    The Sallies immediately lose credibility when they repeat the false claim that we have “one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world”…This is NOT the case, and endless repetition of it doesn’ make it so. We are in fact about the middle of the OECD in impriosnment rates, and about 30th in the world …As as Lonknives has pointed out, the imprisonment rate is meaningless without also condsiering the crime rate.

    alan: It is equally a myth that our crime rate peaked in 1991. Although you can make stats say almost anything, the fact is that in 2008 our VIOLENT crime rate – which is what I am chiefly interested in – was as high as its ever been, although homicide as a subset of violent crime declined earlier than that for a number of reasons. Spurious “explanations” for the decline such as demographic bubbles, declining crack epidemics – often cited as the “real reason” violent crime declined in the US – along with theories such as freely available abortions and even removing lead in petrol are so much bullshit, and designed to “prove” that the most obvious explanation for the sharp decline is NOT greater use of imprisonment, which is anathema to academics and their fellow travelers.

    The fact is that the US changed their policy sharply in the early 90’s from trying to understand criminals and their so called “criminogenic needs” to simply locking them up for long periods. THAT is why crime declined precipitously in the US, and no amount of bullshit theorizing will change that reality.

    From the election of the National-ACT government in 2008, our policies began to change too: parole became much harder to get and was revoked more readily; “three strikes” was passed, and there are now more than 3500 “strike” offenders on the road to a very long sentence; bail became more difficult to get etc. That suite of changes lies behind the decline in violent crime here…and that will continue as “three strikes” begins to become fully effective, and recidivist violent offenders get locked up for the maximum penalty for their offence. And guys like you will still keep trying to suggest “real reasons” for the resulting decline in serious offending.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Anticorruption: Well said. Crime stats are probably the easiest to manipulate: if you want a higher clearance rate, make it harder to register a complaint. Want to show “crime is declining”, eliminate violent offending from total crime and spin the increase in violent offending as “better reporting of domestic violence”, and thus a good thing. This is what Clark did.

    And your statement about the Police not acting in some crime unless they have a confession is almost correct; Insurance companies now employ private investigators to build a file which when “arrest ready” is taken to the Police…and even then a great deal of insurance fraud is now dealt with by the insurance industry itself: civil action if the amount is great enough; blacklisting the fraudsters to the rest of the industry if it isnt.

    It is true that our homicide rate is now much lower than it was, but the explanation for that is as much in medical advances in trauma care than anything else. Put shortly, people now often don’t die from wounds which would have been fatal 20 years ago.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    The Sallies immediately lose credibility when they repeat the false claim that we have “one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world”…This is NOT the case, and endless repetition of it doesn’ make it so. We are in fact about the middle of the OECD in impriosnment rates, and about 30th in the world

    I am one to jump on false claims about our imprisonment rates, but I’m fine with the claim here. Wikipedia has us 74th out of 223 “countries”. That’s in the top third. And, when I last looked at the numbers, we were 7th out of 34 in the OECD. That’s not “about the middle”.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Graeme: Glad you are here…I know you also abhor false stats…And your post rather neatly illustrates my point. You say “in the top third” is synonymous with “one of the highest”..I must respectfully disagree….Given there are more than 200 countries in the world 74th is not “one of the highest” in my book…if we were in the top ten or even 20, maybe.

    Still, at least this latest description of our place in the imprisonment table is an improvement on “second highest in the world” which you still see quoted every other day..

    But here’s a question for Alan and his ilk: Let’s say, just for arguments sake, that we had the HIGHEST level of imprisonment in the OECD…if we also had the LOWEST violent crime rate in that group, would you think that was a reasonable state of affairs?

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. thedavincimode (6,869 comments) says:

    Bear in mind that in evaluating any decline in teenage pregnancies, the impact of the recent introduction of compulsory homosexual sex needs to be factored in.

    Care to hazard a guess on the impact of this kowtow?

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Nigel Kearney (1,047 comments) says:

    If just barely making it into the top third counts as ‘one of the highest’, then at 5’11” I am one of the tallest people in the world.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    You say “in the top third” is synonymous with “one of the highest”..I must respectfully disagree….Given there are more than 200 countries in the world 74th is not “one of the highest” in my book…if we were in the top ten or even 20, maybe.

    That’s fair. I think I was mostly giving them bonus points for avoiding the “second highest” trap.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. nasska (11,788 comments) says:

    ….”Care to hazard a guess on the impact of this”…..

    It’s the end of the civilised world, arse bandits are everywhere, marriage is forever compromised, God will smite us all, disease & depopulation are upon us!

    Sorry….what was the question again?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    Fuck’s sake, has anyone been following the trial of that gang thing in Christchurch for Mallory Manning’s murder? The events sound like something out of a horror movie.

    If we have a high imprisonment rate, it’s because we have a lot of psychopaths, orcs, and generally failed human beings in our midst. It is GOOD that they are getting locked up. We need to lock up more of them, for longer. For ever, even.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    RRM: yes – if anything, our imprisonment rate obviously isn’t high enough, because we have a bunch of Chch Mongrel Mob members who ought to be serving long prison terms for extortion, rape, torture and murder, but aren’t.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. annie (539 comments) says:

    If the Sallies carry on being reasonably honest, they might get back onto my Xmas card list. I dropped them some years ago after hearing National Radio interview with a woofter leftie of a SA officer complaining bitterly about NZ’s welfare system.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. KathyS (18 comments) says:

    Interesting contrast in the way the Sallies’ report is reported in the Herald and the way Stuff reports it:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9712257/Sallies-worried-over-state-of-the-nation

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Paulus (2,658 comments) says:

    The Mongrel Mob boy on trial will now get his patch, after being possibly one of those who murdered Mellory Manning – assuming the just jury find him guilty, and that must be suspect as the trial is still underway before the court.
    Many of his mates are in prison and tend to run the prisons so he will be welcomed by his mates with his patch.
    No doubt his mother will say he is a lovely boy caught up with the wrong mates.
    He was deprived as a baby !!!
    Sounds totally depraved to me.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    @DG

    “But here’s a question for Alan and his ilk: Let’s say, just for arguments sake, that we had the HIGHEST level of imprisonment in the OECD…if we also had the LOWEST violent crime rate in that group, would you think that was a reasonable state of affairs?”

    I’m not sure why this is directed at me, I just pointed out the consistent international global fall in crime per 1,000 people. If some people are suggesting that there is a vast international conspiracy involving every western country to fiddle the crime stats, then that’s ok, but it’s as nutty as the Moon landing people

    But anyway, onto the question, yes. I’ve never said anywhere I have a problem with our imprisonment rates. I defy anyone to show me a quote where I’ve expressed any unhappiness with it. It isn’t there.

    Prison works, there is no way to rehabilitate career criminals once they get down that path. They will give up when they get bored or too old. Until they make the choice, there is nothing you can do to help them.

    I’m also clear that most crime is a result of poverty, it is carried out by those without a stake in society, those who fail in education and employment. It’s not stand alone, “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” as my old mate Tony once said (although interestingly, he didn’t write that line, Gordon Brown did whilst helping him out with the text of the speech)

    Ps, what are my “ilk” ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Albert_Ross (310 comments) says:

    Spurious “explanations” for the decline such as a change in the US approach to sentencing – often cited as the “real reason” violent crime declined in the US – along with theories such as “three strikes” and bail being more difficult to get are so much b/s, and designed to “prove” that the most obvious explanation for the sharp decline is NOT greater use of imprisonment, which is anathema to certain politicians and their fellow travelers.

    The fact is that there has been a demographic bubbles and crack epidemics have been in decline. THAT is why crime declined precipitously in the US, and no amount of b/s theorizing will change that reality.

    Mr Garrett, I do this not because I am convinced by the case set out immediately above but in order to demonstrate how very unconvincing the “spurious explanations such as x are b/s, the fact is y” approach to argumentation and debate is.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. GTP (42 comments) says:

    Not bad considering the report was written by a former Green Party candidate.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Alan: Fair enough. I read you as lamenting our “terrible” rate of imprisonment. Obviously I read you wrongly.

    But now I will contest your claim that crime is born of poverty. The stats – the raw unmassaged ones – shows this is simply not the case. Three examples over time and place to disprove your argument..

    In 1932, in the midst of the great depression, when unemployment among males – women weren’t counted – was 25% or more, we had food riots in Queen Street. People looted shops because they were starving. The violent crime rate per 1000 of population that year was the lowest in the 20th century (Please feel free to check)

    Conversely, when we had unemployment of 4% during the second last year of the Clark government – 4% now widely considered to be full employment – violent crime keep inexorably rising. If “poverty causes crime” surely the opposite applies – if there is no poverty there will be no, or certainly, less crime than before? Didnt happen. Violent crime began a sharp decline from 2008. The GFC was still going on.

    Third example. During the worst of the Global Financial Crisis, unemployment in California reach 16%…There were dire predictions that the sharp decline in crime which had been occurring since the 90’s would reverse now that there was widespread poverty caused by unemployment. Didn’t happen. Crime stats stayed static. (roughly the same phenomenon occurred across the US – sharp increases in unemployment, no significant increase in crime.)

    As with the claim we have the second highest imprisonment rate in the world, the claim that poverty begets crime – particularly violent crime – is an argument which is simply not supported by evidence. In fact, the evidence shows there is little correlation.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    The fact is that the US changed their policy sharply in the early 90′s from trying to understand criminals and their so called “criminogenic needs” to simply locking them up for long periods. THAT is why crime declined precipitously in the US, and no amount of bullshit theorizing will change that reality.

    Tui billboard incoming.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    Come on, let’s be serious. You can’t make an argument based on a single year or two that you pick. The bigger picture is what matters.

    Go look at the average level of educational achievement of people in jail and compare it to those of the wider population. Is there a difference ?

    Now, correlation does not always imply causation, but I’m pretty happy to suggest that it’s very likely that people with jobs, houses and families are much less likely to engage in crime. If people have skin in the game, they’ll behave better.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Tom: Please do share with us what you think the reason was…New York City went from 2,500 odd murders a year to about 500…population stayed the same…after three strikes was passed, violent crime in California fell 60% in the following 10 years…their violent crime rate remains about what it was in the 1950’s.

    What caused all that? Please let’s hear your pet theory…The “best” of the lot for me is the one that claims removing lead from petrol caused the precipitous reduction in crime 20 years later…even better than more readily available abortions…

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Alan: I would say that an argument based on stats over 80 years, and from two similar but very different jurisdictions would have a fair bit of validity…As always, let’s see what our fellow commenters think

    Consider this… and of course I realise this is anecdotal …Ronnie Biggs, one of the Great Train Robbers died recently…ALL of the train robbers were employed at the time – some of them even legally – and most of them had families…Many mobsters in this country also have income – albeit illegitimate – and children…they still offend

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. nasska (11,788 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson

    A few points:

    1) To qualify for a prison sentence in NZ is not all that easy…..you’d have to accumulate a shitload of parking tickets to be eligible for a stretch at Pare. Most of our prisoners get into jail the hard way by ignoring diversion, warnings, fines, PD, supervision, home detention etc. Therefore they’re either thick as boards or determined to join the bros inside.

    2) Because non payment of library fines is dealt with in other ways we can be fairly certain that the majority of prisons are full of violent dangerous offenders…..is this a bad thing?

    3) As our enlightened justice system only imprisons the worst of the worst it is doubtful that you would want to locate your family next door to one of these poor understood mites. Or maybe it doesn’t worry you….please tell.

    There is one thing I’m certain of…..while the arseholes are ‘inside’, then regardless of all other considerations, society is for at least a few years safe from their predations.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Nasska: Your last para neatly puts the reason we passed 3S..it is a message to the boys: Change your ways boyo or you will end up inside for the majority of your adult life…your choice.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. nasska (11,788 comments) says:

    There’s supposed to be only three reasons to imprison anyone DG. To punish, to rehabilitate or to ensure the safety of the wider community.

    There’s always an element of punishment but by the time the justice system has exhausted all the non incarcerating options it’s usually plain to see that rehab is a forlorn hope.

    Community safety is what we’re paying $100K per arsehole per year for & I consider it to be a bargain.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. OneTrack (3,218 comments) says:

    “Community safety is what we’re paying $100K per arsehole per year for & I consider it to be a bargain.”

    I bet I could do it for cheaper :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Viking2 (11,553 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt (1,778 comments) says:
    February 12th, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    RRM: yes – if anything, our imprisonment rate obviously isn’t high enough, because we have a bunch of Chch Mongrel Mob members who ought to be serving long prison terms for extortion, rape, torture and murder, but aren’t.
    ==========================

    Well the plods are just so fucking busy they really haven’t got the time nor the intelligence to catch thugs like the Mongrels.
    Big flareup in the recruiting round our way in the last month. 100 yds from the police station and the scumbag pieces of shit roam unhindered.

    Its easier to issue speeding tickets. nicer people to talk to..Oh and to look at the news and face book to see what the locals are doing for entertainment. i.e. the trolley riders in Palmy. Well they have got time to charge them for being boys and having fun cause it could have been dangerous. fucking namby pamby femministers. (and the cop on the telly was a male?)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. dishy (248 comments) says:

    nasska, there are at least two other reasons for imprisoning baddies. One is individual deterrence – the aim here is to persuade the offender not to re-offend. Another is general deterrence – the aim here is to use the imprisonment as a means to persuade others not to offend. Not surprisingly, there’s doubt as to the effectiveness of these purposes.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    The crime rate dropping has nothing to do with imprisonment rates in NZ. It has been dropping among western countries for years. New Zealand’s drop is in line with those other countries and has nothing to do with any particular government policy.

    The imprisonment rate here is higher than most western countries, however, as we have no greater drop in crime than those countries that have lower imprisonment rates, high imprisonment cannot be justifiably argued as being a contributing factor to less crime (not unless you’re desperate to attribute it to a particular governments polices).

    http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/Newsletter_PDF/Issue_101/Reducing_Imprisonment.pdf

    Child abuse numbers have increased, not because more children are being abused but because it has become more socially acceptable to report any cases. In the past it was considered a family matter and private, and teachers, neighbours, extended family, doctors etc, failed to report it to authorities.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote