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Attacks on students smash our global image

Phil Goff – Downtown Stadium-Phil Goff Web

More effective policing and a stronger youth justice response is needed to deal with a rising tide of crime from young offenders.

More and more of these offenders are young teenagers and often girls.

Too often the victims are members of our ethnic communities.

Last month, I organised a meeting of representatives of Auckland’s ethnic communities with Police and Child, Youth and Family to determine what needs to be done to deal with the problem.

Police hesitant

The Police are reluctant to become involved saying that they need the approval of their Minister. I have contacted the Police and Justice Ministers to get their agreement. It is hard to believe that they will not cooperate with a meeting designed to improve communication between the authorities and victims of offending.

The public has a right to know what the system is doing to protect them and how that response can be improved.

It is very clear that public concern is at a high level. On April 1, 2016, after four attacks on international students, I spoke at a meeting of about 700 people at the University of Auckland.

I said that we should be concerned not only at the seriousness of the attacks but also on the impact of these on victims.

Reputation at risk

If these attacks continued, they would also damage our reputation as a country to which it was safe for families to send their children to study in.

Aside from the human cost of the attacks is the economic cost if our $2.8 billion international student industry is damaged.

To give credit to the Police, they have now arrested over 10 of the offenders.

I want to know what motivates these people at such a young age to act as they did and how effective is the system in responding to this.

When the offenders are so young, big questions have to be asked of what is happening in their families. What are they teaching their children?

We must deal with the causes so that we can build fences at the top of the cliff to stop crime. It is not enough just to provide ambulances at the bottom that picks up the pieces when people have become victims.

Indian retailers

I have also been in touch with some of our Indian retailers who have recently been victims of crime. Indy Purewal at Redhill Superette has been a victim of around 18 burglaries or robberies over time. Too often he was told by Police they were too busy to help. When teenagers rampage through his shop, helping themselves to whatever they want, we are facing a breakdown in the rule of law.

Bharat Patel’s Hari Superette in Papatoetoe was just two weeks or so ago subject to six teenage girls, most of them wearing face masks, robbing his till and taking cigarettes. One of them savagely punched and kicked his sister who tried to protect their property.

Improving safety

Police say that the retailers should improve counter safety of police staff dealing with the public. But what about retailers who are more at risk and cannot be protected in this way?

We will be looking for answers from Police and Justice.

We also want to know how we can work with them to get a safer community.

Being safe in our communities and on the streets is a basic human right but one which now seems to be under threat!

Phil Goff is former Foreign Affairs, Trade and Justice Minister and has been Member of Parliament for 35 years. Elected from Mt Roskill, he is today Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Defence and Ethnic Communities. Mr Goff is a Mayoral candidate for Auckland, postal voting for which will be held from September 16 to mid-day on October 8, 2016. Indian Newslink will bring you issues that confront our major cities and opinions of our readers and experts in handling them.

Photo :

Chinese students at the meeting held at University of Auckland on April 1

(Photo Courtesy: Radio New Zealand)

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