Auckland Transport Consultancy
Auckland Transport Consultancy

COMMUNITY ISSUES

"A nation (community) is like a rope comprised of many strands. When the strands are bound together the rope is strong and useful. When they unravel the strands are weak and useless and the rope fails". (Proverb)

There is huge concern among all caring people at the unravelling of the strands and decline in standards in our increasingly violent and dysfunctional community. The outward evidence is in the lack of respect shown to other people and their property from the curse of tagging to the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, and the violence perpetrated on a daily basis 

The reasons are many and poverty, illiteracy, boredom, and dysfunctional family life all play their part however it is the innermost motivation (the spiritual dimension) of the person which determines their actions. Each person is responsible for their own actions irrespective of background or external circumstances. The majority of those we may classify as poor, illiterate, bored, and from dysfunctional family family backgrounds actually participate in, and contribute to, society effectively. So what makes the difference?  

The biggest single factor without a doubt is the family life and role models the children encounter as they grow up. The evidence is absolutely overwhelming that children brought up in a caring Mother and Father committed to each other and their offspring for life family, do far better than those from dysfunctional backgrounds. Rearing children is a time consuming, rewarding, frustrating, exhilarating, and scary full time occupation. Two parents working together as mentors, role models, friends, guardians, guides, providers, and protectors, in a word PARENTS are far better than one. (I say this with all due respect and honour to the many single parents who through no fault of their own are single and do a sterling job of bringing up their children, often in trying circumstances).

"LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF" is not just some 'good idea'. It is actually the essential ingredient for a FUNCTIONING, HEALTHY, HAPPY, HARMONIOUS, AND FLOURISHING SOCIETY.  The words of Jesus highlight respect for oneself as well as respect for others. 

The breakdown in family life, and society's values overall, are the main contributors to our increasingly dysfunctional society. Regrettably many people are unwilling to face up to that and think about answers which are uncomfortable, unfashionable, or not 'polically correct'.

I have challenged many media people to get their researchers to examine the difference it would make in society if

(a) Every child was born into and nurtured in a caring mum and dad committed for life family

(b) If there was no abuse of alcohol or any other drug.

Crime rolled back, taxes reduced through less police, prisons, court time,  and hospital care, far fewer shattered lives and families, thousands of homes, businesses, and vehicles not broken into, and the fear of being attacked in our home or on the streets taken away from old and young, and a new sense of freedom and quality of life gained.

So far no media have taken up the challenge, or if they have have not published the results (it would be uncomfortable to most media)  but I invite you to think about the differences it would make. Then decide whether this is not the type of society you wish to live in and be aiming for. It is not 'fantasy' or 'pie in the sky'. It is the setting of standards for the ideal society (community) and accepting the challenge of getting as close as possible, We will never achieve perfection but the higher we aim the higher will be our achievement. And there is no greater truism than "when all else fails read the makers instructions". (see Spiritual section of this website)

 

ALCOHOL IS A HUGE DRIVER OF CRIME, ILLNESS, AND DYSFUNCTION IN SOCIETY.                                                                                                                         Below  is a submission I made in 2009 to the Law Commission on alcohol reform. There are many simple things which could be done immediately to reduce the harmful effects. The government procrastinates and the damage to society continues. In 2010 the Law Commission presented 153 excellent recommendations to the goverment to minimise the harm to Society caused by alcohol. When I requested John Key to implement these as soon as possible he somewhat sniffily replied that he had 120 days from the presentation of the recommendations to respond and he exected to amend legislation the end of 2011!!!  That is far too long to wait Mr Key! In the meantime many more thousands of lives will be adversely affected by alcohol, crime  will continue to increase, binge drinking will still be a way of life for many, there will be many more hundreds if not thousands of unwanted pregnancies - and the government will rake in many more millions in tax and the liquor makers will continue to make huge profits out of the misery of the people. Sadly the hypocrites in Parliament and the media will continue to express their concern at the problems - but refuse to implement the solutions. 

The reality that it is OK not to drink any alcohol at all must be promoted extensively.

 

            SUBMISSION TO THE LAW COMMISSION

                    

                    Alcohol in our lives.

 

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this very important aspect of New Zealand society.

 

It is well recognised that alcohol has a powerful effect in society. While many enjoy the extra conviviality and pleasure it provides, the savage effects of abuse permeate society contributing to much suffering and social dysfunction including death, violence, crime, rape, unwanted pregnancies, road crashes, illness, family breakup, wife/partner bashing, and child abuse.

 

The police estimate that approximately one third of all crime is fuelled by Alcohol. District Court judges estimate 80% of defendants coming through the district courts have alcohol or other drug dependence connected with their crimes. It is not only those who abuse alcohol who suffer. The wider effects on their families, friends, and victims are massive.   

 

I am a believer in private enterprise and the ‘free market’ however alcohol is probably the most potent example of a simple fact that free enterprise only remains free, fair, and positive if there is an underlying moral/ethical basis underpinning it. Denial of responsibility for ourselves and others, and lack of recognition of basic societal responsibilities, leads to the attitudes that encourage excessive and binge drinking. The associated loss of inhibitions leads to many actions people would not take if sober, and which they regret on the ‘morning after’. 

 

Because of the nature of the problems caused by alcohol and the enormous damage it does in society the normal ‘freedoms’ of a free market society cannot apply with this substance. There are already rules in place however the ‘experimentation’ with lowering the drinking age, freeing up the issuing of liquor licenses, and extended hours for licensed establishments has simply contributed to rapidly escalating problems and proven that these freedoms cannot be responsibly handled.

 

If we are serious about reducing the massively harmful effects of alcohol abuse, reducing crime, road deaths and injury, medical costs, unwanted pregnancies, and social suffering the time has come to take drastic action. Taxes, prisons, counsellors, police, and treatment costs could all be REDUCED with effective action.

 

The following actions should be taken immediately:

 

  1. No new liquor off licences issued for sales within 500 metres of an established license.
  2. Sales of liquor at all off licences (including supermarkets) restricted to 10am to 10pm. Sales at on licences to be banned between 2am and 7am

    3.   Age for purchase of liquor to be increased to 20

    4.   All advertising and promotion of alcohol to be banned

    5.   Ban ‘promotional pricing’ of liquor. Selling under a minimum price to be an offence

    6.  Drivers blood alcohol limit reduced to 0.05 for those 20 plus. Zero alcohol for under 20’s.

    7.  Ensure tax on alcohol covers all social and medical costs caused by alcohol

    8.  Make establishment of ‘alcohol free’ areas in cities and suburbs easier

    9.  Increase treatment opportunities including more totally ‘dry’ facilities

  10.  Change emphasis on public good advertising to IT''S COOL TO SAY NO" or “ITS COOL NOT TO DRINK ALCOHOL” with images of young people having fun and refusing alcohol and in alcohol free situations.

 

Stephen Greenfield,

P.O. Box 6145,

Auckland 1141

Phone    (09) 309 1831       021 174 9588

 

 THE FOLLOWING WERE PART OF MY ELECTION CAMPAIGN PROPOSALS TO ASSIST IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A BETTER SOCIETY IN NEW ZEALAND.

Social

  • Accept that the family is the primary unit of society and all policies must enhance it including parental responsibility for children to age 18.
  • Ensure that mothers with children under the age of 3 who wish to can stay home and nurture their children during those critical early years.
  • Every child under the age of 3 would be a 'Plunket child' with regular visits from Plunket nurses trained to offer high quality care and advice to parents and children from all cultures and religions. Any suspected abuse or social needs to be reported to another agency (CYFS? Police, Social welfare groups) for immediate follow up
  • Every child from 3 to 5 years would have assistance from another agency with emphasis on early childhood learning and preparation for school as well as welfare

ONE OF THE MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH CARE OF CHILDREN CURRENTLY IS THE MULTITUDE OF AGENCIES AND PROVIDERS - some of very dubious quality, many of them wasting vast sums of money.  Whanau Ora is just another extension of a dysfunctional regime. No one seems to know how it will work or how much it will cost. IT IS SIMPLY AN ADMISSION THAT WHAT IS AVAILABLE CURRENTLY DOES NOT WORK SO LETS TRY SOMETHING ELSE!

KEEP IT SUPER SIMPLE.  One agency servicing all children in New Zealand equally!   

  • Zero tolerance for petty (and all other!) crime including gangs and drugs. Drug free prisons with better rehabilitation are a must. ALL PRISONERS MUST UNDERGO COUNSELLING AND TREATMENT ALTHOUGH IT IS RECOGNISED THAT IT IS ONLY TRULY EFFECTIVE IF THERE IS THE WILL OF THE PRISONER TO CHANGE THEIR WAYS
  • Intergenerational change will only come when the family unit (Mum, Dad, and kids committed for life to each other) is re-established on a foundation of values and ethics. 

  • HOUSING

    Introduce Housing account providing low interest loans for first time home owners who have saved for 5 years.

    Abolish interest only, and 100% mortgages. Minimum 20% deposit for any government backed mortgage scheme.

    Enable government to buy homes (where sole home of the owners) about to be foreclosed for 80% of their current value and rent back to current owners with first option to buy back when they can afford it.(maybe 50/50 with the banks)

  • Promote 3 or 4 day working week instead of layoffs during economic downturn.

  • Repeal what is known as the ‘anti smacking’ bill if  the referendum result agrees that light smacking should not be a criminal offence.

  • EDUCATION:

    Reduce fees for students. Develop on line Tertiary learning.

    Develop the quality of teachers by recruiting people from the Workforce with life experience and offering every 7th year as an unpaid sabbatical with job and seniority preserved.

    Bonding system to remove teachers student loans after 7 years. Reduce the burden of bureaucracy and social welfare teachers are currently expected to handle.

    Teachers should be free to teach!

  • HEALTH:

    Reduce current 21 DHB’s to 6. Bonding system for front line workers in State health system exclusively to write off all student fees over 10 years. Re sign a bond for another 10 years in return for one years paid professional development and vacation. Increase efficiency and resources for at least 20% reduction in waiting times within 3 years.

  • IMMIGRATION:

    Ensure new immigrants have a genuine job in New Zealand with relevant acceptable qualifications. Provide more assistance for new immigrants to settle into New Zealand.