PRIME MINISTER WELCOMES GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT IN SOUTH AUCKLAND YOUTH

  • Jim Bolger
Prime Minister

Mr Bolger today welcomed the announcement of two Government funding packages, worth $12 million over three years, to help and support young people in South Auckland.

Social Welfare Minister Roger Sowry today announced that urban Maori social service organisation Te Whanau O Waipareira has been selected as the preferred provider of a $3 million crime prevention programme for South Auckland young people at risk of offending.

In addition, Education Minister Wyatt Creech said today that education at five South Auckland schools will be strengthened through extra Government funding of up to $9 million over three years. That funding is part of the $30 million School Improvement and Support programme announced in this year's Budget.

Mr Bolger said he was confident both initiatives will help build stronger, safer communities by investing in New Zealand's greatest resources - its young people.

The crime prevention programme, first announced in this year's Budget, will focus on providing intensive care and therapy for young people in Otara and Mangere with a range of health, education and social problems.

Mr Bolger said the Wraparound programme, catering for up to 100 young people at any one time, is the largest of a range of crime prevention initiatives for South Auckland and forms part of the Government's three-year $8.7 million crime prevention package.

"This Government is committed to prevention as an answer to crime in the community.

"Imprisonment should be seen as a last resort, not the first. What we need is more programmes to identify youngsters at risk of offending and find ways for them to turn their energies into more productive and fulfilling activities," Mr Bolger said.

The programme aims to reduce behaviour leading to truancy, school expulsions, teen pregnancies, accidental deaths and suicide. It was developed under the auspices of the Crime Prevention Unit of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and other Government agencies.

The crime prevention package for South Auckland also includes:

a community based Police youth aid programme based on successful programmes already running in Mt Roskill, Ponsonby and Dunedin;
a youth worker employed under an Internal Affairs community worker project scheme, to work specifically on crime prevention; and
funds for a community crime prevention programme designed for Maori youth by Maori groups.