National's policy for youth offenders will hold parents to account

National wants to hold the parents of serious young offenders to account - and have serious reoffenders over 14 face the adult court system.

Justice spokesperson Amy Adams told media on Sunday a group of around 150 young people are committing very serious offenses, and promised a range of measures to more seriously deal with "the most violent and recidivist young offenders".

If re-elected, the party would introduce a new Young Serious Offender (YSO) classification.

It would remove the ability for most serious young offenders to be released early, would impose stricter bail requirements and increase the use of electronic monitoring.

National would also introduce the ability for police to fine parents $200 if their child under the age of 14 is caught "walking the streets without supervision" between 12am and 5am. 

Parents would also have court orders directed at a young person's parent recorded on the parent's criminal record.

In a joint venture between Defence, Ministry of Social Development, Justice and Education, National will establish a boot camp at the army base in Waioru.  

"As part of this, we will establish a defence-led Junior Training Academy based at the Waiouru Training Camp. Judges will be able to order YSOs to serve at the academy for the duration of a school year," Ms Adams said.

She said the academy would be expected to take around 50 YSOs per year, and the YSO scheme would cost of around $30 million over four years. The academy would deal with addiction issues and address literacy and numeracy issues, Ms Adams said.

Ms Adams said National is "proud to be the law and order party" and would also introduce a $30 million contestable fund over four years for community groups running programmes to reduce offending.

National's youth justice policy will:

  • Create a new category - Young Serious Offenders (YSO)
  • Give police and judges more powers to detain YSOs
  • Required monitored release in place of bail and remove three warnings of breach of bail before arrest
  • Require guardians of SYO to be conviction-free for 10 years
  • Remove ability for YSO to qualify for early release from justice facilities
  •  YSO of 14 or older who recommit serious offences will be automatically transferred to adult court system
  • Increase the length of time young offenders can spend in a Youth Justice Facility from six months to 12 - or 18 months in the community
  • Police will be able to issue $200 fines to the parents of under-14s "walking the streets" between 12am and 5am