Aucklanders warned to expect a new crime wave

by Rowan Quinn / 05 June, 2017

Help us find and write the stories Kiwis need to read

Youth workers are warning of a new crime wave in Auckland as crime and gang prevention programmes lose $3m of funding. Photo / Getty Images

Funding cuts can only mean one thing, according to youth workers.

Auckland should prepare for a new crime wave as $3 million of spending on crime and gang prevention comes to an end this month, youth workers say.

Up to eight programmes across the city will have to close because they no longer fit the criteria in a new government funding model, and providers are worried for the young people they will no longer be able to reach.

The cuts come as the city grapples with a spate of aggravated robberies on dairies and small businesses.

A senior worker from one of the programmes, who did not want to be named, told RNZ the cuts were a recipe for disaster - and a recipe for offending.

His staff had years of experience in a tricky field and had built vital, trusted relationships with young people and their families, he said.

The chief executive of the Strive Community Trust, Sharon Wilson-Davis, said she was distraught when she learnt the Trust's gang intervention programme, Breakthru, would not have its contract renewed.

The recent robberies only added to her worries, she said.

"I have real concerns for our community with everything that's going on here now and what that's likely to look like after June when we're gone," she said.

Ms Wilson-Davis said she had received good feedback about the programme that tried to give troubled young people a new purpose with education and work.

West Auckland's Te Whānau O Waipareira had a $1m-plus crime prevention programme for youth in the area which would now have to end.

Chief executive John Tamihere said there would be an increase in crime over the next three to five years as a direct result.

"If you continue to pull this funding out of the community... you will get more traffic going to the police and Corrections," he said.

But Mr Tamihere has a dual relationship with the funding.

His trust was losing out but he is also the chief executive of Te Pou Matakana that commissions programmes, and distributes the money for them, on behalf of Whānau Ora.

The youth programmes being cut were among dozens of contracts the Ministry of Social Development once funded but transferred to Whānau Ora last year.

Mr Tamihere said the ministry was to blame for the cuts because it changed the funding criteria and that meant Te Pou Matakana had no choice but to drop the contracts.

Auckland barrister and youth advocate Frank Godinet said the programmes would leave a void.

Many of the young people committing serious crimes came from generations of social problems and had lost their moral compass but the programmes helped them see a new way of thinking, Mr Godinet said.

And they could prevent them from getting deeper into the criminal justice system, he said.

The Counties Manukau Police Area Commander, Dave Glossop, would not comment on what the effect of losing the programmes might be but said some were more effective than others.

Prevention work was crucial though, with serious offenders getting younger, he said.

"Dealing with a 12-, 13-year-old in a stolen car committing robberies is not unusual. Once upon a time that would stand out now, unfortunately, it doesn't. But we want that to stand out...you can't let it normalise."

The government said the change to the way social services are funded was about making sure the money went to where there was the greatest need.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

Latest

Father figure: Jordan Watson on his 'How to Dad' series
93157 2018-07-21 00:00:00Z Social issues

Father figure: Jordan Watson on his 'How to Dad' s…

by North & South

The breakout Youtube star talks about 'How to Dad', paternity leave, and his own dad.

Read more
With friends like Donald Trump, who needs enemies?
93834 2018-07-21 00:00:00Z World

With friends like Donald Trump, who needs enemies?…

by Paul Thomas

The US President treats his Western allies to a tongue-lashing while cosying up to Vladimir Putin, causing alarm at home and around the world.

Read more
Who Is America? is predictably alarming – and scarily relevant
93831 2018-07-21 00:00:00Z Television

Who Is America? is predictably alarming – and scar…

by Diana Wichtel

Only Bernie Sanders comes out unscathed in Sacha Baron Cohen’s absurdist new series Who Is America?

Read more
Organic wine is getting bigger in New Zealand. These are our top picks
93885 2018-07-21 00:00:00Z Wine

Organic wine is getting bigger in New Zealand. The…

by Michael Cooper

Quality rather than quantity drives New Zealand's organic wine producers.

Read more
Killer robots: The question of how to control lethal autonomous weapons
93876 2018-07-20 08:23:45Z Tech

Killer robots: The question of how to control leth…

by Peter Griffin

The computer scientist who has become a leading voice on the threat posed by killer robots describes himself as an “accidental activist”.

Read more
The man who's making sure performing artists are seen in the regions
93813 2018-07-20 00:00:00Z Theatre

The man who's making sure performing artists are s…

by Elisabeth Easther

For 35 years, Steve Thomas has been at the helm of Arts On Tour, taking musical and theatrical acts from Kaitaia to Stewart Island.

Read more
The Eco Economy: Millennials, money and saving sustainably
93645 2018-07-20 00:00:00Z Economy

The Eco Economy: Millennials, money and saving sus…

by Sharon Stephenson

Millenials are leading the rise of the eco economy.

Read more
Cuba Libre is a new Caribbean-influenced restaurant-bar in Ponsonby
93862 2018-07-19 15:05:51Z Auckland Eats

Cuba Libre is a new Caribbean-influenced restauran…

by Kate Richards

Rum, cigars and Cuban sandwiches are on the menu at new Ponsonby restaurant, Cuba Libre.

Read more