There needs to be ‘‘consequences’’ for young people taking part in ram-raids and smash and grab crime, National Party justice spokesman Paul Goldsmith says.
Mr Goldsmith was Southland MP Joseph Mooney’s guest at a meeting in Gore on last week.
About 20 people attended the meeting.
Young offenders were not being held accountable for their actions, Mr Goldsmith said.
‘‘We’ve developed a culture of excuses where it’s everybody else’s fault but it’s not the person who has stolen the car and smashed into the building and ran off.’’
He heard stories throughout the country of dairy and small business owners ‘‘at their wits end trying to stay in business’’ who were confronted with ‘‘violent attacks on their businesses with ram-raids but also smash and grabs and general lawlessness’’.
‘‘We’ve seen a very significant increase in that.’’
A National government would add a new category — young serious offenders — into the court system.
‘‘It will give judges the discretion to have more serious consequences for them,’’ Mr Goldsmith said.
These offenders could also be sent to a military-style academy for a year which would take them out of their environment to learn better skills and discipline.
Mr Goldsmith also commented on Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon’s donation to East Coast MP Kiri Allan’s election campaign in 2020, which was revealed on Friday.
According to his declaration, Mr Foon gave Ms Allan $1500 and a rent subsidy worth $9185.
National justice spokesman Paul Goldsmith said it was ‘‘bad judgement’’ for Mr Foon to donate to a MP or a political party.
‘‘The race relations [commissioner] should be an independent watchdog who’s able to hold the Government of the day to account’’.
Ms Allan also showed poor judgement in accepting the money, Mr Goldsmith said.
The race relations commissioner was responsible to the minister of justice and when Ms Allan was appointed to the role, she should have declared the donation, he said.
‘‘That is a major perceived conflict of interest.’’