We got it all wrong. Having no money makes you a criminal

biggestRadio NZ are pushing so many poverty tropes at the moment it is hard to keep up with them all.

The latest one is that poverty makes you a criminal…as well as a dead beat parent.

Some womble do-gooder from University and a left-wing activist with the Child Poverty Action Group thinks Judith Collins is wrong too:

There’s help there for all those who need it, she argues. Well, those who work with struggling families know how much more difficult it is to get the help needed under this government.

Ms Collins’ position is strange, to say the least, because the evidence doesn’t support her and she’s part of a government which says it is committed to evidence and to effective use of knowledge and research to support policies and actions.

Interesting how selective the use of evidence can be.

Studies from around the world tell us several important things about poverty and crime. Poverty is linked with crime. Those who experience poverty are much more likely to be the victims of crime than those in more affluent communities. As a British review of the research noted: “Most children raised in poverty do not become involved in crime, but there are higher victim and fear of crime rates in disadvantaged areas”.

That said, there is good evidence that, compared with their more affluent peers, children brought up in poverty are more likely to be reported as having behavioural problems, more likely to be reported for aggressive and/or risk-taking behaviour, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to be the victims of criminal behaviour, more likely to grow up in communities with limited social and recreational opportunities and facilities.

Does he even read what he is saying?

He says that if you live in poverty then you won’t actually become a criminal, but will experience crime as a victim. I think he needs to put down whatever is in the bottle he is holding and concentrate.

 

Then he goes on a little anti-government rant, which is why RadiNZ had him on in the first place.

First, none of the research links these outcomes and behaviours with bad parenting by parents who don’t care. It is the poverty of lives, experiences and opportunities that is critical. Put simply, children and families need the resources to enable them to have a full life in which children are given every possible opportunity to grow and develop.

The UK research indicates that poverty is identified as an important part of the context of crime, while US research goes further, indicating that poverty causes crime.

Whether it is context or cause, if we are serious about tackling crime then we need to tackle poverty as part of the response.

Of course, we have seen nothing from this government which indicates they are really serious about tackling poverty. It is much easier to tackle the poor and to blame them for poverty, and for crime.

What tackles poverty best is work. And it also tackles crime. If people are working then they have little or no time to be committing crimes.

The trouble with wombles like Michael O’Brien, it that they look at life through shit-tinted glasses, or as it appears in his case through the bottom of gin tumblers. Their solution is to always chuck money at the problem.

If money solved poverty then we would have solved it decades ago with our gilt-edged welfare system.

 

– RadioNZ

 

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