Regions with highest truancy also regions with highest ram raid rates

Just 40 percent of Kiwi kids are attending school regularly, according to fresh figures out from the Ministry of Education on Term 2.

Newshub can reveal the regions with the highest truancy also have the highest ram raid rates.

Video emerged on Thursday of a Bay of Plenty teenager taking a school bus for a joyride.

But while stealing the vehicle may be one problem, it turns out getting kids on the school bus and to school is turning into an even bigger one. 

The Ministry of Education data shows school attendance is sliding dramatically. Just 40 percent of students went to school regularly during Term 2 - a record low. 

"It does appear there's a bit of a problem that we've got to address," said Vaughan Couillault from the Secondary Principals' Association.

"I know that educators are working really, really hard to re-engage students back into school, but we're not the ones who look after them overnight."

National leader Christopher Luxon said it isn't "just a moral and a social failure". 

"It's a future economic crisis and that's incredibly disturbing."

Irregular, moderate, and chronic absences from school are all also up - their highest rates since 2011.

A new report also out on Thursday found New Zealand's school attendance rates are far lower than countries like Australia, the UK, and the US, identifying parents' attitudes towards schooling as a massive contributor. 

"For a lot of the absence that we're seeing it's just a degree of complacency that's crept into the system over time and we need to turn that around," said Education and Police Minister Chris Hipkins. 

Hipkins denied he was blaming parents. 

"I'm saying we need parents to play their part in getting kids back into school." 

Doing that could be more important now than ever.

Figures obtained by Newshub show the breakdown of students who've been unenrolled for more than a year by region. Of the nearly 1000 Kiwi kids not attending school for 13 months or more, 527 are in Auckland, 122 are in Waikato and 71 are in Bay of Plenty. They make up 74 percent of the total.

Those are also the three regions with the highest ram raid rates. Between June and September this year, there have been 193 ram raids - 76 in Auckland, 39 in Waikato, and 26 in Bay of Plenty. That makes up 73 percent of that total.

"Kids who are truant are more likely to be involved in that activity," said Hipkins. 

"There's no doubt that there's a strong linkage between ram raids and absence from school," said Luxon. 

While not all truant kids are ram raiders, these figures are hard to ignore.