Dr Elizabeth Stanley is the director of the Institute of Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington. She’s been compelled to stick her oar into the debate:
Police Minister Judith Collins faced a barrage of criticism recently for her dismissal of poverty as a “driver” of crime. For the minister, crime problems are “primarily” linked to “a lack of responsibility” among parents.
Responsibilisation has become a dominant feature of the Government’s approach to significant social problems.
Can’t afford housing in the place you and your children were born? Solution: move to another island and start over.
Struggling to cover weekly basic necessities on a poorly paid full-time job? Solution: enhance your “flexible working” with different employers or take out a Government loan.
And the alternative is? Give them more money? If we could spend ourselves out of poverty and crime, we would have done so already. In fact, during most Labour governments, spending goes up in these areas, with no noticeable difference in these kinds of problems.
…our best research repeatedly tells us that other crimes, including family violence or youth crime, are linked to poverty and inequalities.
The crimes we label, police, control and punish tend to be committed by those who endure significant economic disadvantage. In New Zealand, this has a further layer, as Maori suffer multiple levels of marginalisation. Read more »