Author Archives: nandorandngahuia

My thoughts on the Covid Vaccine

So either there is an actual virus sweeping the planet and killing millions of people – (as has happened before) and public health officials are trying to get everyone protected by vaccinating them as quickly as possible, and trying to stop people spreading disinformation that will lead to many unnecessary deaths

or

a global cabal of public health experts and doctors who have spent their lives learning how to prevent and treat disease are actually lying about how dangerous the virus is and/or about how best to treat it, and are conspiring to inject everyone with a killer substance, hiding the evidence, getting scientific journals to publish fabricated studies and suppressing more effective underground treatments because they want to… um… kill all the people? Sell masks?

One of these sounds more likely than the other.

But perhaps there is a third option.

There clearly is a Covid pandemic happening and it is scaring the kak out of medical people. In desperation to get a vaccination out, things were rushed. There were confused messages. That has left legitimate questions in some people’s minds, but in the concern to get people protected, tolerance for those questions has been low. All in all an unhelpful dynamic.

Many people are legitimately suspicious of pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer etc are in it to make money after all. They have the resources and expertise to develop the treatments, but they need to be kept in check by government regulators and good oversight. This is a constant tension. That’s why we need independent (peer reviewed) research, not company marketing.

Like all things, the vaccination carries risks. But it is clear from the independent research that the vaccination is a LOT safer than the virus, for most people. Websites that allow people to self-report side-effects can imply otherwise but not everyone who reports is telling the truth, and not all symptoms are caused by the vaccine. It’s best to rely on robust reports that test and investigate the data – which means Ministry figures. Unless you think that the entire medical profession (doctors, nurses, public health experts) are conspiring to hide vaccine deaths for some reason, which makes no sense to me.

At the same time, the relative risks for children and young people are not as clear. More solid information would be helpful.

But all in all the vaccine seems like the best response we have. Some people are touting unproven remedies, but what evidence there is seems to come from places desperate to try anything because they can’t get enough vaccine. I don’t see that they are better, more like an inferior alternative.

But I do agree with people who say that we should have more health promoting information from the Governmentl. Again, it’s not an alternative to the vaccine, but always good advice. We have to overstand health and well-being in its holistic fullness.

Then there is the politics. Some government’s have used this pandemic as an opportunity to cover up their incompetence and make a grab for power. In Aotearoa a few people have tried to drum up a following by playing this up, but as far as this country goes, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. People have claimed that the Government has passed laws to make vaccination compulsory, or to force people to participate in medical experiments, or remove the Bill of Rights. I read the act. They haven’t.

Was the virus made in a lab? I’m not sure it matters. If you weren’t already horrified at micro-biological weapons research, what’s the difference? In any case, humanity has been due for a pandemic for a long time. We are out of balance with the rest of life and we either get IN balance, in a hurry, or we pay the price. This pandemic, or the next one, or food insecurity, or something else entirely will soon end this short lived civilisation if we do not radically transform it.

Perhaps what worries me most about this vaccination debate is all the confusion and disinformation. The ones who benefit from the babble are the people behind a REAL conspiracy – one well documented and well-known. The conspiracy to defend and protect a dysfunctional global economic system based on inequality and exploitation, that is destroying the web of life on which human existence depends.

Challenging THAT is much harder work than refusing a vaccine. It means we have to do more than share posts on Facebook or Twitter. It means we have to change ourselves and how we live, and it means we have to change the system that we are all so dependent on.

We urgently need to restore balance and harmony. That’s what we are here for, I&I, in this time.

Give thanks for Life!

Tagged , ,

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THESE WATER REFORMS?

There is a whole load of reform coming down the pipeline from central government at the moment. Its hard to keep on top of it all – Resource Management Act, environmental standards, drinking water standards, housing and development, and of course three waters reform.

The ‘three waters’ are: drinking water, waste water (mostly sewerage) and storm water. In the Whakatāne district these are provided by the district council. In most cases the costs are equalised – spread evenly across all the people who get them, no matter where they live, so everyone pays about the same for about the same service.

Like most places, the Whakatāne district is facing some big bills in the near future. Even though the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) rates the council’s performance on water as very good, most of our 3 waters schemes will not comply with changing environmental standards, or community expectations. It is this that is driving the bulk of the 6.9% rate rise this year.

Part of the problem is that some previous councils tried to keep rates down by not putting aside the money that would be needed, loading the problem on to the future. The question is whether our communities can now afford the bill. Regardless of whether you agree with the proposed changes or not (and I am personally not yet decided) it is important to understand the problem.

What is proposed?

These government proposals are not the final word (although they are getting firmer). They have said that councils have until 1st October to get our heads around the proposals and give feedback. An amended proposal will come out after that, with opportunities for the community to have a say before any final decisions are made. At this stage the council has not decided whether to be in or out of the reform.

The proposal is for 4 new water services providers to take over from the 67 councils that now own and run most of the water services. Whakatāne would be part of a water services entity that includes the Waikato region and goes south to a line stretching from around Waihau Bay to Whanganui.

This publicly owned entity would be big enough to be able to borrow capital, at a very low cost, to cover the work needed. In addition it would be able to plan across the whole network, and invest in specialist training and upskilling in a way that most councils cannot.

It would have market power to cut procurement costs and have the internal systems to handle what will be an increasingly complex compliance environment. It is smaller communities that would benefit the most from this, as the big cities already have some scale.

There has been a bit of misinformation about the ownership of these proposed entities. To be clear, they will be owned by local authorities. Those councils, along with mana whenua, will have representation on an oversight group, which will set the expectations for the entity. An appointments panel will make appointments to the independent board, based on competency, and the board will govern the entity. Any surpluses will be invested in the network, not distributed to councils.

The government has said there will be legislation to protect these new providers from privatisation. One proposal is that either a referendum or a 75% majority vote in parliament would be needed to do so. One of the reasons I support strong Māori oversight is that this is probably one of the best protections against privatisation of critical strategic assets like these.

The government has said that these large entities will need to engage with and respond to local communities with their specific needs. They will also have to work with local councils so that their water investments align with councils development plans for future population growth.

So will we be better off? As far as jobs go, the government has said that the new providers cannot run everything from head office. They will need to retain staff on the ground and in fact are talking about increasing staff. So the current proposal won’t take skilled people from our community.

As for water bills, the government is looking at an economic regulator along the lines of the Electricity Authority, to make sure that costs and investments are transparent and reasonable. Like everything else, though, water bills will no doubt keep going up. The DIA has estimated that over the next 30 years, average water bills in our district will go up a few hundred dollars with these reforms. Without the reform they estimate almost $5000 over the same period. Those savings probably come partly from big urban areas cross subsidising smaller communities.

Our council is checking over those figures to see if they hold true. The devil, as they say, is in the details. We need to examine these proposals very carefully to make sure that the substance is as good as the sizzle.

Finally, the government has said that no community will be worse off because of the reforms. The water assets will come off council books and go to the new water services provider. Councils will be compensated for the debt they hold for those assets, but not the equity. The claim is that many assets are overvalued when you look at the actual state of repair, and that there is more liability than asset.

The government will also provide around $22.6 million to Whakatāne District to help us shift to a sustainable and low carbon economy and provide the infrastructure needed for housing growth and development. These are critical issues for our community right now.

The council has not yet made any decision on whether to opt in or out of these reforms, and I am personally undecided. We are still working through the details of what is proposed. We also need to provide an opportunity for our communities to have a say. Having said that, it is not clear that we will have a choice. For small communities to get the benefits of scale, the government needs everyone, including the cities, to be part of it.

What is important right now is that we all understand what is actually being proposed and make our assessment based on facts. For more detail on the reform proposals, the Department of Internal Affairs website is a good start.

(Published in the Whakatāne Beacon 13/8/21)

Tagged ,

A Circular Economy for a Better Future

What kind of economy do we want? The words that spring to my mind are things like – abundant, prosperous, inclusive, fair, and sustainable. An economy which is healthy, which all of the people in our district benefit from and which is viable in the long term.

For those things to be true, our economy needs to be circular. A circular economy is about the prosperity of our district now and in the future. It means cycling resources, of all kinds, through as many hands as possible. In this way, we are able to generate the maximum value from them. This builds local wealth, local resilience, and local connection.

In a circular economy, materials such as glass, metals, plastics, textiles etc would get reused, up-cycled, and re-cycled indefinitely. The aim is for production where, as in nature, no ‘waste’ exists because every waste product from one business becomes a feed-stock to another. This goes beyond recycling, to redesigning material flows through the economy.

Money flows should also be circular. This keeps and generates wealth within our own communities by circulating around as many people as possible. Small towns especially suffer from linear financial flows – money comes in on payday and then leaves as everyone heads out of town to do the shopping. Instead of draining money from our communities we need to look at how we can slow the flow, create eddies and dams to capture more value within our communities.

Even when we buy in local shops, the products are often not locally produced, and so the local benefits are limited. It is very likely that as fossil fuel use reduces, from global action on climate change and also declining global oil production, we will have to produce more stuff locally. Supporting local production builds resilience into our local economy.

Circularity applies to people as well. COVID has highlighted NZ’s vulnerability when it comes to overseas workers. The Eastern Bay has, I think, done well in terms of building long term relationships with communities in Vanuatu to support the kiwi fruit industry. This allows skills development and other kinds of exchanges to occur and is not based on the same kind of exploitation we see in some other places. But it also raises the question of how we build more circularity in terms of local people.

The marine school, to be sited at the new boat harbour, is a good example. We have some of the best aluminium boat builders in the world in the Whakatāne district. They have had to bring in skilled workers from overseas because of the lack of locals able to do the job. The new marine school will not only train local people for welding, but for all aspects of boat building and boat maintenance, from design to fit out. The boat harbour itself, coupled with highly skilled local people, will both draw and retain work in this local economy.

Whakatāne Boat Harbour - Artist's impression

As the work around the marine school and boat harbour shows, circularity in our local economy relies on long-term relationships between businesses, and between businesses and institutions. It is impossible to build a business ecosystem without some long-term commitment to shared goals of building collective local prosperity. I believe that most business owners in our sub-region do share that goal, but we lack the mechanisms to easily give effect to them.

This is why institutional commitments to a circular economy are important. During the COVID lockdown and recovery, and also with the Provincial Growth Fund, the Whakatāne District Council was able to attract far more Government money into this area than most councils of our size. Because this put a real strain on local contractors, the council worked with them and with other institutions to schedule work flows to keep them manageable, rather than swinging back and force like a pendulum. Contractors willingly took on temporary staff from other businesses facing a downturn, to help make sure local workers stayed employed. WDC was able to access Kia Kaha funding to keep work flowing, and its commitment to local employment saw 175 unemployed or redeployed people find work. 50 of those are now permanent jobs.

There are many elements of our local economy that are already circular, or at least moving towards it. The contribution of Māori world views, and Māori business, based on values such as whakapapa, kaitiakitanga, mana motuhake and intergenerational thinking will, I think, help move us even faster in that direction. I believe that it is where our community wants, and needs, to go to build a prosperous future where all people enjoy the benefits. Of course this is not something we can do alone. We need to build momentum in our individual businesses, in our business networks and in our local economy as a whole, as well as across the region, our nation, and the planet. When I look around at what is happening globally, I know we are not alone.

Published in the Whakatāne Beacon 30/12/20

Tagged ,

WHAT HAVE WE LEFT

I look at nature

the way that life pulses through it

the murmurations of birds

the running of inanga

and salmon

and herrings

and antelope

and bison

the inconceivable abundance

that powers this living planet

and all of the life upon it

and in it

and around it

and I worry

because we have pillaged it

despoiled it

ripped it apart

like clueless fucking idiots

and what have we left

for everyone else?

the bears

the wolves

the eagles and hawks

the whales and the orcas

all those beautiful

mesmerising

incredible

awesome beings

what have we left them?

or even left our own children?

are we really

that

stupid?

Why so interested in the US election?

I have been reflecting on why I paid so much attention to the US elections. As someone who is often critical of the US government, its history, its foreign and domestic policy, why do I feel so attached to the outcome? It’s not like there was anything really progressive on offer. What has it got to do with me, here in Aotearoa?

1. As a follower of Ras Tafari, I support multilateralism and strong international institutions that can make global decisions, protect weak nations from the strong through collective security, and at least encourage adherence to international law. Trump’s withdrawal from international forums has weakened our collective ability to act on things like climate change, pandemic and disarmament, and his ego-driven forays into international diplomacy have encouraged despots.

2. I feel great empathy for the people who have been suffering under his leadership – in particular the children who have been separated from their families at the US border, and inadequately documented and tracked. I fear for where they have ended up and shudder to think of the abuse and ill-treatment some of them may now be exposed to, as a direct consequence of his cruelty and callous indifference. But it does not end there. He has encouraged fascists and racists and violent intolerance and the US will be a more dangerous place for people of colour and for progressive activists for some time as a result.

3. I stand in solidarity with the many people in the US who are fighting to protect the environment from even more plundering by multinational corporations, in particular indigenous people. Trump’s scything through US environmental protections, like his mini-me Bolsonaro in Brazil, comes at a time when protection of ecological integrity is critical, and sucks energy that could be usefully used elsewhere.

4. At a time when the feminine principle is being restored to power, when re-finding the balance is so vital, it is deeply worrying that a man who openly boasts of his ability to sexually molest women with impunity can be so popular. I do not see how anyone can see such a man as fit to lead any nation at all.

5. While some will rejoice at the ruination of the US under Trump, its loss of international standing, the gaping wound now opened in its ‘democracy’ I fear a world where China is unrivaled for power. Trumps has hastened the already obvious demise of the US, under the ironic slogan of ‘Make America Great Again’, and I wonder where the counterbalances to Chinese power will come from. Having the US become a failed state does not help anyone I think.

Yeah, so I am glad that Trump lost. Convincingly, if not by the landslide it deserved.

Tagged ,

Weighing up the cannabis referendum – is the current law working?

When it comes to cannabis, I think most New Zealanders want more or less the same things.

We don’t want young people using cannabis. While the evidence is clear that most people use cannabis without problems, the few that do almost always started young and use heavily.

We want those people that do have drug problems to be helped rather than punished. Currently places in drug treatment services are hard to get, and almost non-existent outside of the main centres.

We don’t want to be wasting police time on arresting adults for simply enjoying cannabis. Freedom for adults to make their own decisions is a basic value, as long as they are not harming other people or putting other people at risk.

This September New Zealanders will get to vote on how best to achieve those outcomes. We can stick with how things are now, or move to a regulated market. The regulated model on offer is an improved version of Canada. It has a lot of carefully thought-through details so please do have a look at it. Consider both choices, to see which gets us closer to our goals. Have a look at what the independent research tells us about how best to manage cannabis.

When it comes to young people using cannabis, it has been normalised for decades. Cannabis is widespread and easy for young people to get hold. The Christchurch and Dunedin longitudinal studies at the University of Otago have given us some of the best evidence in the world around cannabis use. Their summary of the research can be found at cannabisreferendum.co.nz. They show that around 80% of New Zealanders have tried cannabis by age 25. While most people use cannabis without harm, a small number do experience problems. These are people who started young and use heavily.

We cannot stop young people using cannabis entirely, just as it is impossible to stop them drinking alcohol. We can make it more difficult for them to get hold of though. Having an age limit helps. In Canada, according to official Government figures,

“… use among Canadian youth has not increased. This accords with the Colorado experience—the first to legalize non-medical cannabis…. (while) use among 15- to 17-year-olds declined (19.8% to 10.4%).”

Statistics Canada

Being illegal means no controls, no age limit. It brings young people who do try cannabis into contact with a criminal underworld. Regulating the market by making it R20 won’t stop young people trying cannabis entirely, but it will make it harder for them to get into a pattern of risky use.

For the small number of people who do end up having problems with cannabis use, we need better drug education and drug treatment services. The economist Shamubeel Eaqub has estimated that we need another $150 million spent on drug treatment to meet current needs. The potential tax from cannabis sales (estimated at between $250 million to almost half a billion dollars) has been ring-fenced for drug harm reduction.

Finally, most people do not want to see their friends and neighbours being arrested for simply enjoying cannabis. We still arrest thousands of people a year for cannabis use in NZ, and there are even people in prison for growing their own. That is not usually any of the lawyers, doctors or accountants who enjoy cannabis. They rarely get searched by the police and if they do, get off with a warning. It is most likely to be someone poor and brown, for whom a cannabis conviction and fine can be life-destroying.

Arresting people for cannabis doesn’t stop them using it. In fact research shows that people are MORE likely to use it after being charged. The only people who the law inhibits from using cannabis, the only people for whom regular use goes up after legalisation, are the over-65’s. Perhaps this is because they now feel ok about trying it as a medicine for those aches and pains. Maybe it is because they have worked hard all their lives and deserve to enjoy a relatively benign recreational drug that makes them laugh.

And who could have a problem with that?

Tagged ,

Essays in Social Permaculture – using natural succession

I recently attended an amazing waananga just outside Whāngarei, at a place called Permadynamics. It was run by Klaus Lotz and Frida Keegan on the subject of syntropic polyculture. That sounds complicated but basically syntropic is the opposite of entropic: it means a system which becomes more ordered. Polyculture is the opposite of monoculture, and refers to a diverse and deeply interconnected cropping system. The particular polyculture at Permadynamics is anchored around the banana, and Klaus is the biggest commercial banana grower in Aotearoa.

The system was first developed by Ernst Gotsch. As far as I know he hadn’t heard of permaculture when he first established its principles, but it meshes perfectly with permaculture thinking. I fully recommend searching the web for his videos and writings. He developed his system in South America where he was a farm advisor working with people trying to make a living from highly degraded land. This was land that had been rainforest, had been logged, and then cash cropped for a few years until there was no soil left. Finally it was abandoned and then occupied by some of the poorest people in the region.

Ernst realised that attempting to grow high value crops without bringing the land back to health first was pointless. He also realised that the land was already in a process of rehabilitating itself. Those prickly thorns and nasty weeds that kept coming up where people were trying to farm were actually playing an important ecological function. They were beginning the process of rebuilding the soil. Left to itself the whole area would simply return to rainforest. Instead of trying to arrest the natural succession that was already taking place, with poison and back breaking work, he realised he could accelerate and shape it.

Instead of trying to eradicate weeds, Ernst identified the most useful ones and sowed them. He interplanted with whatever crops might survive – obtaining at least some kind of yield for the growers – and used heavy slashing to mulch and keep the ground covered. Over time this strategy built enough soil to move to the next stage of succession, where perennials and semi-perennials could be introduced with higher value crops. Ultimately it moves to a system of forest farming that is probably not very different from traditional indigenous practices.

Succession itself is complex and multi-layered and this brief inadequate explanation does not do it justice. It takes seeing it working in action, at places like Permadynamics. Seeing the deep soils that have been grown on very steep clay banks with no topsoil when they began, and hearing the narrative as we walked through this incredible sub-tropical forest full of food.

I see the same thing taking place on my land. There is an area of slip, where the ground is bare, with no soil and deep, rapid scouring. The only plants able to hold on there are gorse and pampas grass. I have been learning not to panic about these invasive plants because in other places I can see where kānuka is already coming through them, and starting to shade them out. Same for the blackberry. If I was to do nothing but watch I know that over time the whole area will go into kānuka, which will give way to other natives and exotics and will eventually turn into forest.

I don’t work on forest timeframes though and human life is short. I am impatient and don’t want to wait that long. I also want the forest to provide for my family’s needs as much as possible, so I want to influence what grows, to accelerate and shape that succession. With that in mind I will plant a local variety of kōwhai, to fix nitrogen, build soil, to look beautiful and to feed local tui. I will collect kānuka seeds and sow them, to speed up the kānuka cover. I will plant some acacias, also to fix nitrogen, to feed bees and birds, to provide coppice wood for fires and handles and poles. Given how degraded the area is, I won’t ask more of it than that for now. It is not capable, for example, of growing fruit trees and anyway I want those closer to the house. So I will just let the birds take it from there and watch and learn as nature transforms it. As Gotsch says, ‘we think we are intelligent, but we are just part of an intelligent system”.
I was pondering Klaus’ approach to weeds while clearing out my spring. When a weed turns up in his food forest, he does not say “arrgh a weed, we must get rid of it”. He welcomes it as a friend, and seeks to understand what it’s function is. He doesn’t just leave it to do it’s thing, rather he prunes it heavily to use as drop mulch and build soil. He doesn’t allow it to flower and seed (and talks about other benefits to the overall system in keeping it at a juvenile stage), but he doesn’t try to eradicate it. It is a valuable source of biomass.

Occasionally there is something that is genuinely looking to take over but that is rarely the case. Usually a weed is there to help move succession along. Once it has played its role, the conditions that it came for will no longer be there, so it will leave. Most weeds are only a problem if you are trying to artificially maintain your land at a lower level of succession, for example by trying to prevent grassland from becoming forest.

Similarly David Holmgren, when explaining the principle of ‘observe and interact’ says that ‘there is no right and wrong in nature’. If we apply that thinking to society, to some of the spontaneous manifestations of human culture that cause such general consternation, we can maybe start to find better ways to approach them.

Gangs are a very good example. Gangs are something that politicians have generally treated as weeds to eradicate. Like gorse in a paddock, they have done everything they can to get rid of them. They have tried to ban them, threaten them, and police them out of existence. Only rarely have they tried to understand the social function that gangs play, why they arose in the first place. Rather than try to arrest natural succession, like poisoning gorse on a degraded slope, perhaps if we try to accelerate it we might have better outcomes.

New Zealand gangs started as a very human response to alienation. Alienation comes with poverty and lack of status. For many Māori, alienation came with the killing of their rangatira, the theft of their land and economic base, and the subsequent urban drift. It left people cut off from their kin and the most important expressions of their culture.

The worst of the gangs arose out of the extreme alienation from society that resulted from institutionalised rape, abuse and torture in state care. At the start of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care, I remember listening to an interview on the radio. It was one of the guys that had been kidnapped from his family as a young boy by the NZ Government and put into a home. It is no coincidence that most of those boys were Māori. In ‘care’ he was sexually and violently abused. Repeatedly. He was shoved from one abusive place to another until he turned 18 when he was turned out onto the street with nothing. No one cared about what happened to him, not a soul, except for the other kids who had been through the same. They joined together, like a family of sorts. If the world didn’t care about them then they didn’t give a fuck about the world. But they did care for each other, whatever that meant for people whose only ‘care’ had been abuse. Is it a surprise that many of those boys became our most violent criminals?

Now a man, he spoke about a judge sentencing him for some crime or another, talking to him with disgust and contempt about how he needed to come out of the gang life. He said to the interviewer “you locked every door to me. I am not welcome anywhere in your world. The only door that was opened to me was the gang. Why would I give that up?”

People need social connection almost as much as they need food. The gangs became a way of bonding, of forming connections both social and economic. Alienation was the ground that they sprung up from. To try to stamp them out with force is simply adding to that alienation, degrading the already degraded conditions that give rise to them in the first place. Like trying to burn gorse, whose seeds germinate in fire. Or worse, clearing the ground they have covered to make way for something even more rampant.

Gangs thrive in areas where people, especially young people, have few options for participating in legal society. Given growing inequality in New Zealand and the diminishing of opportunities for many young people, it is no wonder than gang membership is growing. Worryingly we are starting to see more of an influx of more violent criminal gangs from overseas. If we want to see gangs on the decline we need to improve the soil in which they arise, to make it richer, healthier, more structured, more full of life. And we need to recognise how the gangs themselves might help do that.
I work in a community and ecological restoration project in Whakatāne called Awatapu Otamakaokao Kaitiaki Trust. One of the driving forces behind that is a bunch of guys who have been or still are actively involved with Black Power. That is where they come from. That is their friends and family. Leaving that entirely is impossible for many of them, and why would they?

But they don’t want their children to go through what they went through, to live the lives that they have lived. They are the ones now organising the local Christmas in the Park, learning mau rākau, planting baumea and carex in lagoon mud.72538974_10156654823321717_8735450149867749376_n

Permaculture works with nature – and that must mean human nature as much as tree nature. Civilisations rise and fall but people’s nature remains invariably the same – socially cooperative and primed to seek connection and belonging. Humans by-and-large care about other people and care what other people think of us. But our natures can get distorted by our life experience. We can become so bound up in our peer group that we lose our sense of our place in the wider ecosystem. Yet the drive to provide a better life for our children is a common human trait. Left to our own devices I think even the most distorted social conditions will revert to equilibrium over enough generations. But as with our landscapes, we do not want to wait. We want to accelerate the natural succession, to speed up the journey towards system health.

This doesn’t mean being naive to what gangs can be. The opposite, in fact. If you are using gorse for a nurse crop and for mulch you need to pay special attention to the thorns. But it does mean recognising what is coming through underneath. It does mean feeding the soil and enriching it, pruning and mulching. An example might be to put seized proceeds of crime into the communities that give rise to gangs rather than into the consolidated fund. Or to put a much stronger focus on feeding those communities with education, work opportunity and community building initiatives rather than just more policing. It does also mean supporting, in practical terms, efforts within the gang communities themselves to change

Politicians will do more harm than good if they continue to try to eradicate gangs without understanding what gives rise to them and the social function they play. Most importantly, we have to be better at paying attention to and supporting the direction of the natural succession already taking place, that Government policies are so often antagonistic to.

Tagged , , , ,