Dr Jarrod Gilbert on National’s rehabilitation policies

March 26th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Dr writes:

Out went the old school chief executive Barry Mathews and in came Ray Smith, a man with a ton of bureaucratic experience but none in corrections, and it was the latter that served him well. He has been bold and acted in ways that only the naïve can: unhampered by past failures or concerns. 

Suddenly we are focusing on trying to turn around the lives of prisoners. In short, we are helping them and not just housing them. The culture shift that this requires inside prison walls is one I could not have believed if not for seeing it with my own eyes. The fear, of course, is that all of this will be seen as going soft on crime. And will the electorate support that when for years it has been told ‘lock ‘em up’ is the answer?

Smith is not some mad maverick acting alone, his bravery reflects that of his minister and the government. Smith is overseeing a policy of reducing reoffending by 25 percent over five years. Those aren’t just statistics. Every person who doesn’t reoffend means at least one less victim of crime. 

Former Labour Party President Mike Williams, now with the Howard League for Penal Reform, says Anne Tolley is the best Corrections Minister NZ has had.

This will be one of the interesting elements of this election. What part will crime and justice policy play? Can the National Party, who has done so incredibly well in this area, convince the people that this U-turn is actually in everybody’s interests?

Here’s were I disagree. I don’t think a focus on rehabilitation and a tough line on criminals who do keep reoffending is contradictory or a u-turn. You rehabilitate those you can, and lock up those you can’t.

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86 Responses to “Dr Jarrod Gilbert on National’s rehabilitation policies”

  1. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    The focus on rehabilitation is not a particularly recent initiative: I think the real change might be in resourcing that has become available as the number of prisoners has declined considerably.

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  2. dime (9,788 comments) says:

    “You rehabilitate those you can, and lock up those you can’t.”

    Exactly. Glad to see we are giving it an honest attempt to try and fix these people.

    Course the best thing would be to stop paying people to breed, encourage people to raise good human beings.

    But yeah, that will take a while. Need to try and fix the damage thats already been done.

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  3. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    DPF: Exactly. Having policies which lock up recidvist violent offenders for a long time, and keeping the really bad bastards in stark conditions AND at the same time pushing programmes aimed at preventing first or second time offenders joining either of those categories is not at all contradictory.

    When my career abruptly ended I was working with the Californian Judge who was largely responsible for the introduction of Drug Courts in that state with a view to doing the same here. I did not and do not see that as conflicting in any way with the “three strikes” law which was then freshly passed.

    What many people cannot accept is there are many prisoners – by age 25 probably most of them – who unfortunately can’t be rehabilitated for any of a number of reasons. They need to be locked up for long periods to protect the rest of us and, just maybe, deter others. Attempting to prevent younger and less hardened offenders from joining that unhappy band is a worthy and noble cause.

    Dime: “Stop paying people to breed”? Shame on you Sir! And lucky you are writing anonymously…otherwise you’d be leading the TV news with a background of Auchwitz and massed goose stepping stormtroopers… as I once was for suggesting such a thing…

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  4. dime (9,788 comments) says:

    “Dime: “Stop paying people to breed”? Shame on you Sir! And lucky you are writing anonymously…otherwise you’d be leading the TV news with a background of Auchwitz and massed goose stepping stormtroopers… as I once was for suggesting such a thing…”

    lol really?

    Maybe I should stand. The rt Hon Dime. Wonder how long id last heh

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  5. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    “You rehabilitate those you can, and lock up those you can’t.”

    This is at least the most rational approach that can be taken, as long as it is combined with a constant striving for more effective rehabilitation which increases the number of “those you can”.

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  6. stephieboy (2,624 comments) says:

    Greg Newbold made an important point that hit home to me when he was in Pare for drug trafficking . He recalled the superintendent reminding Greg that at the end of the day only he and not the prison could reform him.
    A valuable lesson that he never forgot from one our more thoughtful and reasoned Prison sociologists and commentator’s .

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  7. Elaycee (4,349 comments) says:

    Maybe I should stand. The rt Hon Dime. Wonder how long id last heh

    Only until you’re busted using your credit card to rack up a huge debt under the guise of ‘stress relief’…. :P

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  8. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    I’d agree with most of what David Garrett says above, but I don’t share his pessimistic view of the over-25s. It’s a matter of attaining some perspective, on yourself and the consequences of your actions, and realising you’re wasting your life and hurting people who care about you. For some that comes by about 25 but I’ve seen others – gang members included – for whom the epiphany has come only in their 50s, sometimes with the birth of a grandchild.

    While longer sentences for repeat offenders are appropriate, we mustn’t assume that people are irredeemable just because they’ve reached a certain point.

    David himself has admitted to changing his attitude on fundamental issues such as capital punishment later in life. I’ve changed what I would have thought were inviolable principles because I’ve had life experiences I didn’t expect to have. We all have the capacity to change, right up to our last breath.

    edit: @Ryan – very well put.

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  9. alloytoo (521 comments) says:

    No U-Turn,

    We lock people away to stop them committing crime, if the result of rehabilitation is reduced crime then our objectives have been met whether they’re in jail or not.

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  10. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Ryan: At the risk of destroying some rare consensus…the sad reality is that rehabilitation for serious offenders is largely illusory…and except for cases where all offending is drug related in some way, it will only happen if the offender wishes to change his path…and by age 20 or so, most don’t. I would very much doubt Rex W – who was here yesterday with some typically informed contributions – would say anything much to the contrary.

    The reasons rehabilitation is difficult are many, but as Dime has alluded to, if one is brought up in a home where violence and crime are the norm, and Daddy is often “away” at the pleasure of her Majesty, the apple is very unlikely to fall far from the tree. There are the exceptional cases, but they are just that: exceptional.

    Having said all that, I repeat that I am wholly in favour of what Tolley and the Nat government is trying to do.

    Stephie: Re Newbold – who I have known for 25 years – quite right. And he is one of the more pessimistic regarding rehab, mostly because during his now quite lengthy academic career he has seen numerous programmes tried and fail. One of this papers – on Workmans disastrous ‘He Ara Hou’ programme from the 19990’s – is called “Another one bites the dust”.

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  11. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    Ryan: At the risk of destroying some rare consensus…

    You and I almost always agree on rational approaches to the penal system, David.

    the sad reality is that rehabilitation for serious offenders is largely illusory…and except for cases where all offending is drug related in some way, it will only happen if the offender wishes to change his path…and by age 20 or so, most don’t. I would very much doubt Rex W – who was here yesterday with some typically informed contributions – would say anything much to the contrary.

    Working out effective means of encouraging an offender to wish to change his path is a necessary part of any rational approach to rehabilitation. It’s an admission of defeat right from the outset to say “offenders will only change if they want to”. It’s also an uninformative truism – people will only ever do anything if they want to.

    Externally influencing what people want to do is the only way to influence their behaviour.

    The reasons rehabilitation is difficult are many, but as Dime has alluded to, if one is brought up in a home where violence and crime are the norm, and Daddy is often “away” at the pleasure of her Majesty, the apple is very unlikely to fall far from the tree. There are the exceptional cases, but they are rare.

    Having said all that, I repeat that I am wholly in favour of what Tolley and the Nat government is trying to do.

    Yes, perhaps I should expand my statement a little more:

    “You rehabilitate those you can, and lock up those you can’t” is the most rational approach that can be taken, as long as it is combined with a constant striving for more effective rehabilitation which increases the number of “those you can” AND a constant striving to reduce and remove those factors which give rise to criminal behaviour in the first place.

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  12. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    if one is brought up in a home where violence and crime are the norm, and Daddy is often “away” at the pleasure of her Majesty, the apple is very unlikely to fall far from the tree.

    And there lies the problem. Those kids grow up in an environment where they are expected to fail, so they fail. Their families expect them to fail, their teachers expect them to fail, their peers expect them to fail, and they expect to fail. Just like their good old Dad before them.

    Maybe the answer is to instill some confidence and the expectation that they aren’t expected to fail. Then maybe their own expectations of failure can be replaced by an expectation of success before they even go near a courtroom or jail cell. I don’t know how to do that, but I think that you’ve hit a possible solution.

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  13. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    In short, the prevention of crime is a holistic society-wide issue, not limited to just a question of how people are dealt with once caught.

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  14. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    The lack of accountability in the direction of rehabilitation effort. The lack of examination of that effort.

    Capture of the effort by those with a particular world view.

    Results in further and increasing funding towards cultural safety from a socially twisted perspective.

    Forty to Fifty years of petty crime and anti social acts peppered with terms of imprisonment shortened by parole etc is the price you will pay to keep your pet untill death rex.

    All that pain and suffering

    You must be proud.

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  15. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Gary: If you can work out how to convince young Maori – and let’s face it they are mostly young Maori – that they arent expected to fail, and that jail shouldn’t be an unremarkable component of your life, then get yourself to Wellington and offer your blinding insight to the relevant authorties.

    A great many have trodden that path before you…very few have succeeded. Remember that the first contact most such offenders would have had with a jail cell is in their mother’s arms, while visiting Dad who was “away down the line.”

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  16. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    It’s not trying to convince somebody, it’s getting them to believe in themselves.

    I think a good start would be to stop continually hearing about how maoris are downtrodden by the dreaded white colonials. That does more harm than good in my opinion, and it reinforces the expectations of failure that I was talking about earlier.

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  17. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    And how do you prevent that, when every Maori politician and most Maori commentators push the “it’s all the fault of colonization and the Honkey” line?

    What it takes is a few of the above to stand up, loud proud and often, and say “Violent offending is no-one’s fault but yours…not colonization, not the Honkey, not “society” not the government’s” Almost no prominent Maori will ever do that…the few that do invariably get drowned out by the others…This BTW is one of the points Newbold often makes…silence by Maori leaders…

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  18. SW (237 comments) says:

    DG – what is your personal opinion on why young Maori men in particular are over represented in crime statistics (as well as young ‘white’ men from low socio economic backgrounds?

    Do you think offending is linked more to environmental factors or genetic factors?

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  19. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    And how do you prevent that, when every Maori politician and most Maori commentators push the “it’s all the fault of colonization and the Honkey” line?

    In other words… “it’s all the fault of the Maori politicians and most Maori commentators”.

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  20. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    Do you think offending is linked more to environmental factors or genetic factors?

    You can’t be serious.

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  21. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    SW: That’s a very good question…You will be aware of recent controversial research which supposedly has identified a “Maori Warrior” gene…I dont have the training or knowledge to have more than a layman’s opinion on that, but from my life experience I think there may be something in it…As readers here will know, I lived for four years in Tonga…up there I saw countless examples of “the warrior gene” – or something pretty awful – being unleashed after a few cans of VB…perfect gentlemen in both senses of the word who would suddenly turn into something horrible…The next day they were utterly contrite, and couldnt quite believe what they had done…

    Then again, if you are brought up in a household where violence is the norm; where Mum EXPECTS Dad to beat her frequently to “show he loves her” – and there ARE women like that; where violence is seen as the first and not the last option to resolve conflict or even disagreement..I would think it very unlikely for a person to come out of that environment – whatever their race or colour – and be a decent member of society…

    I will go out on a limb (just for a change) and say I believe the highlighting and approval of the violent aspects of Maori culture in the form of Kapa Haka groups at school is very misconceived…How can a competition which rewards the most bloodthirsty war dance be a positive influence on kids?

    Ryan: I see you think it preposterous that there could be a genetic component to violent behaviour…had you ever lived in a third world country, or at least one where violence was quite accepted?

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  22. RRM (9,745 comments) says:

    Jarrod Gilbert – I haven’t heard of him for a while, used to be President of the Canterbury Uni student union back when the outstanding Kyle Millar was doing his thing.

    IIRC Millar was outed as being behind a particularly distasteful election campaign poster “Hands up who wants Gilbert to be UCSA President?” above a photo of Hopoate performing the infamous rectal tackle…

    Anyone who has enemies like that is probably worth listening to!

    Happy days… :-)

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  23. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    Ryan: I see you think it preposterous that there could be a genetic component to violent behaviour…

    It’s not rationally preposterous, but it is dangerous thinking, and also tends to be seductive thinking to those who would rather not consider the possibility of any collective responsibility for the environmental factors that shape others’ behaviour.

    had you ever lived in a third world country, or at least one where violence was quite accepted?

    I have not, but it certainly sounds like a different environment, doesn’t it.

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  24. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    1812.
    population
    maori 80,000 to 120,000

    -1836…
    Population
    maori 50,000 to 75,000

    With a significant number of the living enslaved or displaced.

    How is it possible for the Treaty Narrative to not include this?

    The Inter Tribal Genocide should be examined .

    In Context to the Treaty and its implications.

    It also boots the lie “whitey made us violent” out of the park.

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  25. nasska (11,065 comments) says:

    ….”Then again, if you are brought up in a household where violence is the norm; where Mum EXPECTS Dad to beat her frequently to “show he loves her” “….

    Few truer statements have been made. David G has well described the behaviour & expectations of a too large part of our population. It is not confined to Maori either but they are sadly, grossly over represented.

    What hope for the kids of such relationships?

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  26. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    but it is dangerous thinking, and also tends to be seductive thinking to those who would rather not consider the possibility of any collective responsibility for the cultural factors that shape others’ behaviour.

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  27. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    but it is dangerous thinking, and also tends to be seductive thinking to those who would rather not consider the possibility of any collective responsibility for the cultural factors that shape others’ behaviour.

    If the question is “do you think it’s genetic or environmental?”, then culture falls in the “environment” camp.

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  28. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Ryan: My “lived” experience is limited to growing up in Gisborne in a state housing block – most of the neighbours were Maori – and four years in Tonga, and an ongoing involvement with that country…so let’s look at Tonga.

    The murder rate is about 7 (yes that’s right, SEVEN) per 100,000 per year…New Zealand’s is currently about 1.5…Kids are brought up – both at home and at school – with regular corporal punishment of the kind we had in the 50’s…not the pretty feeble strap that we had in the 60’s, but a piece of tree!!. As I said, I dont have the training to know whether the whole “warrior gene” thing has any validity or not…

    But come back to good old NZ…Why do you think the Maori Battalion was so justifiably feared in WW II, and why they took such casualties themselves? It was said that once they fixed bayonets the result would be either all the enemy dead – they didnt take prisoners – or all the Maori dead..Nature or the nurture in a strict upbringing up the East Coast? Who knows?

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  29. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    The murder rate is about 7 (yes that’s right, SEVEN) per 100,000 per year…New Zealand’s is currently about 1.5…Kids are brought up – both at home and at school – with regular corporal punishment of the kind we had in the 50′s…not the pretty feeble strap that we had in the 60′s, but a piece of tree!!. As I said, I dont have the training to know whether the whole “warrior gene” thing has any validity or not…

    But come back to good old NZ…Why do you think the Maori Battalion was so justifiably feared, and why they took such casualties themselves? It was said that once they fixed bayonets the result would be either all the enemy dead – they didnt take prisoners – or all the Maori dead..Nature or nurture in a strict upbringing up the East Coast? Who knows?

    Or why the pure Aryan SS were so justifiably feared. Superior training and indoctrination? Or the master race? Who knows?

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  30. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Griff thinks its black or white..

    no.

    Some kids despite the odds of winz, cyfs ,maori culture and gang upbringing.

    make it.

    With the help of some very special and pathetically under valued professionals.

    As do poor rich kids with their p and alcohol addictions, prostitution and peer inflicted rampant rooting..

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  31. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    Colonization is not an excuse, but it would be just as bad to assume that it has played no role at all in the place Maori find themselves in. Many of the social problems found in Native American tribes are a direct result of colonization.

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  32. VideoJo (3 comments) says:

    SW

    Are you posing a serious question? – Genetic factors, my ass!

    Personally, I am fed up to the back teeth of
    a) the defeatist attitude of youth today (the “I was brought up in this so I will do what I know” – and
    b) the sense of entitlement they seem to have (the “someone else has got what I want so I’ll just take it”)
    …and I don’t have the answers to sorting out the offending…that will have to be up to someone far cleverer than I…

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  33. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Ryan: Re the SS you make an excellent point…but then having travelled extensively in Germany and crossing paths with a good few of them over the years perhaps there may not have been much difference between the Waffen SS and the Maori Battalion..

    I dont know if anyone has identified a Teutonic warrior gene…

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  34. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    Ryan: Re the SS you make an excellent point…but then having travelled extensively in Germany and crossing paths with a good few of them over the years there may not have been much difference between the Waffen SS and the Maori Battalion..

    I dont know if anyone has identified a teutonic warrior gene…

    Let’s pursue the whole “everything you experience since birth shapes your behaviour” idea a bit further before we start gene therapy and selective breeding to address the overrepresentation of Maori in NZ prisons and crime rates.

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  35. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    I’m not sure that there was much difference really in the combat performance of the Maori Battalion versus the other NZ battalions anyway. And didn’t Keith Sinclair call New Zealanders the ‘Prussians of the South Pacific’?

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  36. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    How can a competition which rewards the most bloodthirsty war dance be a positive influence on kids?

    Better that they do a war dance than have an actual war. It is my understanding from the indoctrination that we had at school (and may therefore be bullshit) that the Haka was something that both sides did before a battle to intimidate the opposition, and more often than not there would be a “diplomatic” solution. If it’s done in that context then I see no problem with it. And if you have a problem with Kapa Haka then you must have a problem with rugby also, since it’s all about the players who are best at a different sort of contest, albeit one that doesn’t usually kill people.

    …I saw countless examples of “the warrior gene” – or something pretty awful – being unleashed after a few cans of VB…perfect gentlemen in both senses of the word who would suddenly turn into something horrible…The next day they were utterly contrite, and couldnt quite believe what they had done…

    I’ve seen plenty of white people like that too. And from all accounts the Japs were pretty fearsome during WWII (the half of the war that we don’t study at school since we neglected our neighbour and closest friend and fought for Britain instead).

    TLDR – I don’t think there is a “warrior gene” that is unique to maoris or polynesians.

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  37. Ed Snack (1,828 comments) says:

    Ryan, making things “dangerous to think” would be a very good way to shut people up who have ideas that don’t agree with yours. That said I would be far more inclined to see the issue lying with culture. I would distinguish that from the “environment” as environment to me is so often used to push political barrows like “social justice” and poverty as causal.

    It would be interesting I think, to be able to survey boys at various ages as to who are their role models and what are their aspirations, and to analyze these along cultural lines (which are often but not always congruent with “racial” lines). I think it could provide some insight into what sort of aspirations are considered acceptable by cultural grouping.

    It would be interesting to know though, has a cultural emphasis on learning as being socially highly acceptable led to a genetic sexual selection effect and in fact produced a population with a higher average intelligence ? It would nothing to do with race as such but would manifest along “racial” lines because over the length of time needed to produce a measurable effect the group concerned would need to self identify and remain as a semi-closed group. The question might be, can we identify such an effect without being accused and pilloried as a racist for even thinking about it ?

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  38. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    I dont think anyone is suggesting “selective breeding”…but on that subject I was surprised to learn the other day that Sweden, that country so beloved of small “l” liberals, had a strict eugenics policy under which the “feeble minded” were sterilized up until the 1970’s..

    And remember of course those who ascribe the precipitous fall in crime in the US since the early 1990’s to more readily available abortions for what were once called the criminal classes are in effect ascribing some validity or at least efficacy to selective breeding…

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  39. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Further my 1:57 comment, I think that using a “warrior gene” as an excuse just perpetuates the expectations that I was talking about earlier.

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  40. SW (237 comments) says:

    Thanks for your response DG – I found it interesting. Feel free to correct, but I read it as – you suspect but are not certain that there is a strong genetic component to criminal behaviour (something policy makers can’t change without say genocide!). At the same time, you acknowledge that environment is without a doubt factor to criminal behaviour (something policy makers can impact, hence why crime rates differ under different policy frameworks).

    You identify Kapa Haka. Personally, I don’t see much relevance to that on crime (the key word for me is Dance!). Rugby is a violent game, but I have benefited from playing the game in terms of gaining social skills, sense of achievement, teamwork, being in shape etc. Perhaps most importantly, it kept my focus on something positive and productive, rather than being bored and roaming the streets – many of the above would equally to kapa haka or any other extra curricular stuff kids get involved with.

    I’m sure your position wouldn’t be policy makers banning kapa haka anyway, just an expression of personal opinion I imagine?

    Do you think policy makers can impact crime by focusing on environmental drivers of crime, or do is that task simply too complicated/fraught with unintended consequences or simply not worth pursuing?

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  41. Ed Snack (1,828 comments) says:

    I’d add that we do know that there is a genetic component to behaviour from the various twin studies, where identical twins raised together and apart are compared, and also from studies that compare adopted children to non-adopted. So that there are genetic variations that impact behaviour should not be controversial; what is very controversial is that genetic traits are in any way correlated to “race”. Now we do know that some are, for example the incidence of certain diseases is significantly correlated with “race” in some known instances (Tay-Sachs with some Jewish populations, sickle cell anemia with African Americans, and others), can we extend this to behavioural impacting genetic variation ?

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  42. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    DG
    Not so much advocating for selective breeding as pointing out that more freely available abortion tends to reduce the number of children who grow up in deprived circumstances and thus impacts the crime rate.

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  43. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Gary: I think you are considerably younger than me…but we certainly had plenty of indoctrination about “Maori culture” when I went through school…if you believed some of the teachers, all the pre European Maori did was make love, do a bit of gardening, and play stick games…the reality of course was theirs was an existence of constant violence and fear…read Paul Moon’s “This Horrible Practice” which goes well beyond the cannibalism the title refers to…

    And what the fuck are you talking about WW II in the Pacific? Surely you dont mean we ought to have been aligning with the Japs?? I suppose you must mean Australia…they “fought for Britain instead” just like we did…the Yanks by and large fought the Pacific war since they had the means to do so…I dont think the Australians have an aircraft carrier even now…they certainly didnt in 1942…

    But we are straying wildly off topic here…

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  44. Ed Snack (1,828 comments) says:

    Mikenmild, I would dispute that the deprived circumstances have significant impact on crime, it is the other way around; parents who are in deprived circumstances as you put it are the ones who are more likely to live within a culture of criminality. The deprivation is a result of, not a cause; most people in deprived circumstances do not become criminals.

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  45. James Stephenson (2,128 comments) says:

    Let’s pursue the whole “everything you experience since birth shapes your behaviour” idea a bit further

    Do Maori have anything in the way of male role-models beyond the “warrior” (soldier, sportsman, gang member…)?

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  46. nasska (11,065 comments) says:

    Rather than a “warrior gene” I suggest that looking for a “can’t handle the piss gene” would lead to better understanding of the driver(s) of the problems.

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  47. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Mikey: Read more widely on WW II…Rommel is on record as saying that if he had a Division of Maori he would have pushed the Brits into the sea in North Africa…and that the Maoris were the only soldiers his Afrika Korps were afraid of…

    Their casualty rate was much higher – closer to a half than a third – than the rest of the New Zealand Division…the reason was partly that they volunteered for bloodbath type missions with alacrity, and partly their style of fighting: close quarters with no prisoners taken and no surrender…

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  48. SW (237 comments) says:

    Ed snack – your question above re cultural emphasis on learning – it might not be directly on point but google ‘Flynn effect’. It’s research out of Otago University but has been internationally recognised.

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  49. SW (237 comments) says:

    Video Jo – yes it was a serious question. Genetics v environment (or culture if you prefer) is an area sensible people disagree over what has the most influence on a persons life chances.

    Your comments about young people must be an acknowledgement of environmental change from when you were young, unless you think there is something genetically different with people born after a certain date?

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  50. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Nasska: Oh you terribly politically incorrect fellow!! If you read my post on Tonga you will see a “can’t handle the booze” theme interwoven with what I have said in it…

    Now here’s an interesting thing…Tonga has never been colonized so has always made its own laws (with a lot of assistance from the Brits it’s true)…Until the 1970’s, Tongans could not buy liquor in their own country because Queen Salote and her successors had formed the view that they couldn’t handle it… No colonizing Honkey: a law made by Tongans for Tongans.

    It is also forgotten that the same was true down here until the 1960’s…Maori could drink in bars but could not buy liquor to take come…the promoter of that policy? None other that Sir Apirana Ngata, who came to the same conclusion around the same time as Queen Salote (Ngata was also strongly opposed to Welfare for Maori, saying it would destroy them as a race…but I digress)

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  51. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    DG,

    same problem with Native Americans and alcohol. Not a good mix.

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  52. Nostalgia-NZ (5,081 comments) says:

    Testing the latest popular theory about children meeting their fathers in prison visiting rooms and later going onto offend.
    Wickliffe – father returned veteran, never imprisoned but an alcoholic.
    Taylor – possible single parent family, no father imprisoned.
    Newbold, no father imprisoned.
    Bell – unknown but think adopted or single parent family.
    Burton – adopted.
    Gillies: John Frederick, no father imprisoned.
    Wong Tongs from Mangere, no father imprisoned but possibly children.
    Mossie Hinds, no father imprisoned but one son imprisoned multiple times.
    Wayne Doyle, no father imprisoned no children offenders.

    I could go on but the point is pretty clear.

    Maori Battalion highest decorated NZ Battalion ever. Only one of the above known to have had a father in Maori Battalion.

    NZ gangs largely non violent for a period approaching a decade.

    Youth rates of court appearances at 20 year low as JC announced today, a resolute National Government doing its job in actively seeking to reduce so perhaps Mike Williams is right about the Minister of Corrections being the best ever, but it’s also the cabinet. Selling lower crime rates to the electorate a problem? Doubt it.

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  53. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    On the warrior ethos, this is interesting:

    “Didn’t know this one. Would never have guessed this one. But the ethnic group most disproportionately represented in the US military is Native Americans. Native Americans make up barely one percent of the population, but 1.6% of our military forces.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-ridley/quick-the-ethnic-group-mo_b_147049.html

    Why? We like to fight :)

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  54. nasska (11,065 comments) says:

    David G

    Early last century the completion of the Main Trunk Line was held back because the leaders of the Maori tribes in the King Country didn’t want their people exposed to the effects of liquor. Although the line was eventually built the area remained “dry” for a long time after.

    As for the “can’t handle the booze” theory….I worked a second job as a part time barman for ten years after we were married. Just about every Friday & Saturday night there would be trouble easily put down to an inability to handle the grog.

    I don’t think things have changed much since.

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  55. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    I dont think anyone is suggesting “selective breeding”…but on that subject I was surprised to learn the other day that Sweden, that country so beloved of small “l” liberals, had a strict eugenics policy under which the “feeble minded” were sterilized up until the 1970′s..

    And remember of course those who ascribe the precipitous fall in crime in the US since the early 1990′s to more readily available abortions for what were once called the criminal classes are in effect ascribing some validity or at least efficacy to selective breeding…

    Just because something is effective, does not mean it cannot be appalling.

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  56. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    Ryan, making things “dangerous to think” would be a very good way to shut people up who have ideas that don’t agree with yours.

    Yes, Ed, I agree, though that does not change the fact that some kinds of thinking is dangerous, and must therefore be handled with care. The notion that some ethnic groups are genetically predisposed towards undesirable behaviour is one such kind of thinking, partly because of the kind of proposed solutions it precludes (addressing environmental and societal factors that are actually to blame) and partly because of the kind of proposed solutions to which it leads.

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  57. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    Some good comments on the influences on offending.

    I appreciate the concern of those who would repudiate any link between genetics and offending behaviour. But let’s be aware of the fact that biological factors are increasingly seen as causative, often when combined with environmental factors.

    For instance, a low level of monoamine oxidase is being linked to a predisposition to violent behaviour in increasing numbers of studies. But that only comes into play in individuals who’ve also been exposed to violence. So why does one abused child grow up to be an ideal parent and the other an abuser? Perhaps it is biological. And if we take that biology one step back, the low level of monoamine oxidase seems to be the result of a genotype.

    That’s just one of many such factors which are being studied, and the science is far from settled. It’s all pretty much theoretical at this point, because once these factors are identified people then need to be studied over long periods and in the face of a variety of external stimuli.

    Just to clarify – I’m not claiming all violent offenders are helpless victims of their own genetics (for the benefit of griffith, who seems unable to intelligently parse my comments). Free will will always be a factor.

    But we mustn’t dismiss the possibility that some people’s intrinsic make-up gives them a predisposition to offending behaviour just because a variation of that theory has been used to justify some ugly philosophies in the past.

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  58. VideoJo (3 comments) says:

    SW: you are correct, sensible people can disagree – and I apologise for being crass.

    I must disagree with the Genetics argument (Warrior gene aside) as I believe that the majority of people are shaped by their environment and that this holds “the most influence on a persons life chances”…Maori have always been over-represented in our jails but I don’t believe this has a genetic component, more causal would be the external Environment. Colonisation needs to be abandoned as an excuse now too, we are far too far down the track to be using that one.

    …and you are bang on regarding the environmental (cultural) change from when I was young…per capita there is more offending now than ever before – a rapid increase over the last generation and more so on the one before that…genetic change is forced by external circumstance and happens over incredibly long periods of time – I don’t think that the decline of what society calls ‘acceptable’ behaviour can be blamed on genetics in that short a time span…it can be blamed on other (societal) factors though.

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  59. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Killer (much as I dislike engaging with you)… “NZ gangs largely non violent for a period approaching a decade…” What utter fucking rubbish. We have just witnessed the High Court trial of one of the killers of Mellory Manning; the defendant was a prospect for the Mob, apparently doing his “required killing” to get his patch.

    You certainly dont hear of gangs putting women “on the block” these days (You might still have been in jail when the last notable one happened, a Mongrel Mob convention at Ambury Park, Mangere in the late 80’s.)..the only reason gang violence is less heard of now is because they have all got smarter…put shortly, intensive police investigation of “blockings” interferes with the gang business of P manufacture and distribution, and “taxing” poor sad women like Ms Manning…

    Go back under your rock where you belong…

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  60. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    @David Garrett notes:

    Until the 1970′s, Tongans could not buy liquor in their own country because Queen Salote and her successors had formed the view that they couldn’t handle it… No colonizing Honkey: a law made by Tongans for Tongans.

    And more recently, the decision of many Aboriginal communities to be “dry”. And the support amongst many (but by no means all) Aboriginal people for the NT intervention, which controlled welfare spending with a view to minimising the amount wasted on booze and gambling.

    The irony is, the same whitefellas who claim to support indigenous self-determination become very flustered when confronted with the wisdom of blackfella elders, who eschew debates on nature vs nurture for practical solutions that deal with the reality, whatever its cause.

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  61. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Rex: This is off topic but you might find it amusing…When I was living in Tonga the BBC did one of those “Survivor” type programmes on a deserted Island…I acted as legal advisor for the BBC crew…The chosen Island was perfect for their needs except for one thing – it was infested with ship rats. Although I told them the Tongans would be only too happy to have said rats wiped out by DOC or some other contractor, they insisted on meeting with the Ministers of Lands and Tourism to seek permission to deal to the rats…The Ministers listened politely, but were very puzzled as to why the earnest gels from the BBC were making such a thing about it…Finally one of said gels said “We wont do it if these rats have some cultural importance”…The Minister of Lands replied “But these are palangi rats”!! I couldnt control my guffawing…

    But then given the sacred nature of the “Maori rat”, perhaps the gels reticence was understandable…

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  62. Nostalgia-NZ (5,081 comments) says:

    The ‘reasoned’ ex lawmaker refers to a single crime to address a whole decade. You’re getting whiny again Garrett.

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  63. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    We could have a discussion about your TWO abominable crimes…the two you were actually convicted of…but then you might go to the headmaster and complain you are being picked on…and Mummy not here to defend you…You are vermin mate…What you should have got was a fucking long drop…perhaps a bit shorter than necessary to break your neck…

    Perhaps you think the parents of your youngest victim are “whiny” when every year they remember the awful day you took their daughter from them?

    And you refer to me as “Garrett”…why dont you come out from behind your pathetic shield and put your name to your comments so we can do likewise with you? Everyone here knows who you are, even if they are reluctant to use your name for fear of the consequences…You are nearly 60 arent you? Not too late to man up…

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  64. Martin Gibson (234 comments) says:

    Conspicuous by its absence; any talk about fetal (spellcheck wants to spell it feral!) alcohol syndrome. Poor planning poor insight poor empathising poor impulse control.
    Called New Zealand’s biggest social justice issue by paediatrician expert in it here. Never hear a peep from the left about it. I raised it with a human rights commissioner (labour, lesbian) who said incentivising women not to drink poss while pregnant was “patriarchal”.

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  65. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Alcohol is heavily involved in our crime statistics.

    Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of a number of documented negative effects it has on crime and social cohesion.

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  66. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    If the govt was totally serious about stamping out crime they would start at the roots by introducing military conscription which would entail trade training and certificates. This would train and discipline youth and give them a future.

    Education is usually most of the answer and with so many trades people leaving the country, trained up youth would soon fill gaps.

    Elementary unless you have an agenda.

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  67. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Oh dear, put them all in the Army! Too expensive but, never mind, we have the Vanguard Military Academy as the next best thing.

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  68. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    Martin G: How could you possibly take seriously some stupid bitch who said advice to not drink alchohol while pregnant was “patriarchal”?…revives unpleasant memories for me of pronouncements by my “separatist feminist lesbian” (her term) sister…At one stage she and her mad mates were going around shooting male dogs…apparently they were part of the “patriarchy” too…

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  69. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    “If the govt was totally serious about stamping out crime they would start at the roots by introducing military conscription”

    No, bad, bad idea. Professional armies are far better than conscription armies. The last thing the military needs is a large influx of criminals. Not to mention forcing people to join the military is morally wrong.

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  70. SW (237 comments) says:

    DG – all good if not, just wondering if you have a response to my 2.03 comments?

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  71. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    @David Garrett

    LOL @ “palangi rats”. Again reminds me of the Aboriginals… mad Australians protect everything that’s out to kill them, from Great White Sharks to snakes. I assumed this was because various animals are cultural totems to different Aboriginal clans, so was careful to respect it.

    So there I am amongst a predominantly white audience listening to a Welcome to Country (powhiri) when a snake slithers in. Everyone froze. The Elder doing the welcome exasperatedly said “Kill him!” (“him” being a general purpose pronoun appended to everything). When the assembled luminaries just blinked uncomprehendingly she sighed, grabbed her walking stick, strode into the middle of the gathering, battered it to death and went on with the welcome. Evidently the prohibition on killing is another whitefella constraint.

    @Martin Gibson

    It’s been acknowledged that children with foetal alcohol syndrome are 19 times more likely to end up in prison.

    And you’re right. Aside from the occasional health warning, nothing much is done to prevent it. I’m not certain why as my field is law and prisons not public health, but I would not be at all surprised if it were because it would be seen as interfering with someone’s rights. As an active civil libertarian that sort of talk makes me furious, as it gives people scope to claim other, serious and real, erosions of our rights are merely a winding back of extremist nonsense.

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  72. Martin Gibson (234 comments) says:

    DG: I took her seriously because my taxes pay for her to fly around the world and also it struck me as odd how off-handedly she used a word meaning “fatherly” as a swear word. There’s no ministry of men’s affairs to balance out the jammed rudder I guess.

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  73. duggledog (1,484 comments) says:

    Fetal alcohol syndrome is to modern NZ what that awful fungus was to medieval Europe. I can’t remember the name for it, but you get one ear of it in a thousand bushels of wheat today and you can’t sell it, it’s lethal. They reckon the classic ‘Village Idiots’ that every village had at least one of was due to its powerful toxin.

    There are village idiots all over NZ thanks to FAS

    Wiki @ 4.29 for the first time I agree with you. All the way, except it would never happen

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  74. David Garrett (6,905 comments) says:

    SW: sorry, I overlooked your comment. Yes,, I think you have pretty much nailed it.

    Rex: Good story.

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  75. flash2846 (250 comments) says:

    @ Nostalgia-NZ
    Maori Battalion highest decorated NZ Battalion ever???. Bullshit!!!

    That is simply not true. Shame on you for your disrespect of the 32,000+ New Zealander soldiers of European decent who lost there lives in past conflicts; and the many more seriously wounded.
    Clearly you have never been in the military and have no idea what you are talking about.
    Wimps like you wouldn’t last five minutes around camp.
    You are embarrassing!

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  76. Scott Hamilton (298 comments) says:

    ‘Until the 1970′s, Tongans could not buy liquor in their own country’

    This isn’t actually true. Tongans could buy booze from official outlets if they had licenses. In practice, many didn’t bother to acquire licences because they couldn’t afford the official booze and because, ever since the American invasion of the early ’40s, hopi, or homebrew, was being made and sold cheaply in most villages.

    But kava has always been the drug of choice for most Tongan males, and increasingly in Nuku’alofa it is being drunk by women as well. I remember sitting in a kava shack in Nuku’alofa asking a member of Tonga’s burgeoning Bah’ai community why he and his brethren were allowed to drink kava but not booze, and he replied “Because alcohol makes you stupid, while kava makes you wise’. I think he was right: kava induces euphoria but not confusion or aggression. Certainly, I’ve never heard of a punch up at a kava club. I think we could do with a few of them down here in Auckland…

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  77. Scott Hamilton (298 comments) says:

    ‘The murder rate in Tonga is about 7 (yes that’s right, SEVEN) per 100,000 per year’

    Do you have a source for this, David? My understanding is that the murder rate in Tonga was about 1.5 per 100,000 through the 1990s. I find it hard to believe that the rate has jumped almost five fold in a decade and a half. The overall crime rate in Tonga is very low, and I felt safe walking anywhere at any time of the day or night when I lived there last year. There are certainly serious problems, though, with inter-school violence, with domestic violence, and with violence against fakalete.

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  78. Scott Hamilton (298 comments) says:

    I know self-advertising is a sin, but just in case anyone is interested in Tonga’s plague of inter-school violence, I blogged about the subject last year, in the aftermath of an inter-school scrap that turned into a riot:
    http://readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/marching-into-battle.html

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  79. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    No you don’t lock them up you shoot them

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  80. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    The was a bind referendum on Violent Crime

    All NZ governments have ignored it continue to ignore it and People Die

    I don’t care about their Rehabilitation

    Let’s have some justice for the people who are Victims of NZ gvts failed policy

    I think it is about time NZers were allowed to “protect themselves”

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  81. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    WHAT HAS TONGA

    GOT TO DO WITH NZ LAW

    IF YOU CAN’T OBEY NZ LAW

    GO BACK TO WHERE EVER

    OBEY OUR LAWS OR GO TO HELL

    IT IS REALLY SIMPLE

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  82. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    WHO CARES YOU BREAK THE LAW YOU GET PUNISHED

    AND IF YOU DON”T LIKE THAT
    WE CAN ALWAYS LET THE VICTIMS

    CHOOSE AND CARRY OUT ANY SENTENCE THEY LIKE

    AND IF THAT MEANS PUTTING YOUR UP AGAINST A WALL

    I AM FINE WITH THAT ALSO

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  83. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    HOW DARE YOU BRING UP NZ SERVICEMEN OF ANY ORIGIN IN THIS DEBATE

    THEY WERE NOT THE GUTLESS COWARDS (LIKE YOU) THAT SHAME OUR NATION DAY IN DAY OUT

    YOU LIAR YOU GUTLESS LIARS

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  84. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    Ben,

    Get a grip, and turn the caps key off.

    “The was a bind referendum on Violent Crime

    All NZ governments have ignored it continue to ignore it and People Die”

    National/ACT have in fact listened, which is why we have harsher sentences and three strikes.

    “No you don’t lock them up you shoot them”

    And if it turns out the evidence was wrong or the Police did shoddy work and got the wrong person?

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  85. Nostalgia-NZ (5,081 comments) says:

    flash2846 (121 comments) says:

    ‘March 26th, 2014 at 10:45 pm
    @ Nostalgia-NZ
    Maori Battalion highest decorated NZ Battalion ever???. Bullshit!!!

    That is simply not true. Shame on you for your disrespect of the 32,000+ New Zealander soldiers of European decent who lost there lives in past conflicts; and the many more seriously wounded.
    Clearly you have never been in the military and have no idea what you are talking about.
    Wimps like you wouldn’t last five minutes around camp.
    You are embarrassing.’

    Try this from Wiki flash.

    “Decorations[edit]

    In total, the Māori Battalion received more individual bravery decorations than any other New Zealand battalion.[115] One member of the battalion, Second Lieutenant Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu, was awarded the Victoria Cross during the war,[116] while another member, Sergeant Haane Manahi, was also recommended for the award. During the fighting around Takrouna in 1943, Manahi led a section of men up a sheer limestone escarpment to capture a number of Italian positions; the following day he set out to capture Italian outposts. Four generals, including Harold Alexander, Bernard Freyberg, Howard Kippenberger and Bernard Law Montgomery had recommended that Manahi receive the Victoria Cross but this recommendation was downgraded in London to the Distinguished Conduct Medal.[117][118]”

    As for the rest of your diatribe I have been in camp not that it is any business of yours, and I still have family members serving both here and overseas. Not a few also are buried in Europe and the middle East with connections to ‘both’ sides in the Land Wars and present at the conception of the NZ Army – but thanks for the lecture.

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  86. RRM (9,745 comments) says:

    THERE’S A BIT OF DRIBBLE RUNNING DOWN YOUR CHIN BEN DOVER.

    YOU MIGHT WANT TO SORT THAT OUT?

    (And calm the f. down!)

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