National 'wouldn't support' ACT's idea to put youth offenders who commit serious crimes in ankle bracelets - Christopher Luxon

The ACT Party's idea to fit youth offenders as young as 11 with ankle bracelets wouldn't be supported by National, leader Christopher Luxon says.

ACT leader David Seymour said on Tuesday his party wanted to see more consequences for young people who commit serious offences, including ramraids. 

That followed the Government unveiling a suite of programmes to try and tackle growing youth crime. 

But the Dairy and Business Owners Group has said the Government's ideas didn't go far enough. 

Luxon agreed the package wasn't enough but said National wouldn't go as far as fitting 11 to 14-year-old offenders with ankle bracelets.

"We wouldn't support that," Luxon said of ACT's ankle bracelet proposal. "What we are saying is, look, the Government's got the balance all wrong here. We do need serious prosecutions for serious offenders.

"The second thing we need is we need to actually make sure we're supporting the victims," Luxon told AM on Wednesday.

He said the Government's new package didn't address serious offending.

"The serious offending end is where we need to see much stronger action from the Government because that's the piece that's actually driving 25 percent of all the ramraids.

"What we saw yesterday was just re-announcements of programmes that already exist."

Dubbed "Better Pathways", the youth crime package announced on Tuesday would see youth engagement and employment programmes amended to allow thousands more young people to participate, the Government said. That included the Youth Guarantee programme (1100 additional participants), He Poutama Rangatahi - Youth Employment Pathways (1400 more participants) while the Ākonga Youth Development Community Fund was extended to the end of next year to support another 2750 young people and whānau.  

In addition, all children aged under 14 years old caught ramraiding in Counties Manukau or west Auckland would be referred to a "social wellbeing board" as part of a cross-agency intervention.

Luxon said it wasn't enough. He wanted to see low school attendance levels addressed, which the National leader believed was feeding youth crime.

"The big thing that I'm really concerned about… is that 55 percent of our kids are not going to school today; 100,000 kids in this country are chronically truant.

"That is a big, big linkage into ramraids and one of the causes for why we're seeing what we're seeing. We've got a minister, fortunately, who's also the Minister of Police and is also the Minister of Education and I keep saying he should probably have a talk with himself to work out how we actually fix truancy - because that's one of the major, major drivers here."

Police and Education Minister Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday the youth crime package was intended to create more opportunities for young people to break the cycle of offending.

"While youth crime is down from a decade ago, we're seeing a spike of young people, even children, putting themselves and others in harm's way through high-risk activities such as ram-raiding and smashing shops and we want that to stop.

"We want to provide every young New Zealander with the chance to succeed. To do that we've identified youth-focused programmes that are working already out in the community and investing heavily to scale them up."

In the first six months of 2022, there were 254 ram raids - a 518 percent increase from the same months in 2018, data shows

A police report found 76 percent of ram raids were committed by youths under 17 years old, with 17 percent being under 13.