Yesterday we wrote about lax gun control in New Zealand and exposure of Kiwi children to a firearms culture.
Today we’re writing about the perfect storm: a 12 year old boy high on methamphetamine robbing a shop with a rifle, all for a handful of sweets. This single incident highlights a host of social issues plaguing New Zealand: grinding social disadvantage, youth crime, out of control drug use and firearms possession.
The robbery took place in the North Road dairy in Kaitaia at 8.35 pm on Sunday, the offender and a 15 year old accomplice were traced to an address in Matthews Ave. When police arrived the 12 year old spat at an officer, punched him in the face and kicked him in the mouth. Police suspect the kids were under the influence of methamphetamine (crystal meth).
Firearm offences are very much in the NZ news at present, with the NZ Police Association saying officers are dealing with a gun related incident almost every day. Obtaining guns is “ridiculously easy” in New Zealand.
To make matters worse, police have no idea how many firearms are in legal circulation in New Zealand, because (like the US) New Zealand doesn’t licence individual weapons, just the owners. Ironically, Kiwi police are not permitted to carry weapons themselves yet regularly come up against people who do:
Obtaining guns ‘ridiculously easy’ for criminals (NZ Herald 5 Oct 2015)
Firearms have become “ridiculously easy” for offenders to get their hands on and police are being confronted almost daily by gun-wielding criminals, the Police Association says.
The union is calling for an official police inquiry into where the guns are coming from and says the issue has been badly neglected by the top brass.
The call comes days after police were shot at as they pursued a pair of alleged offenders in West Auckland, and follows a spate of incidents where other police were fired on.
There have also been numerous instances in which firearms were aimed at the public, including a Hamilton diary owner who wrestled a gun from a would-be-robber during a dramatic encounter in August, and an armed holdup of a Mangere service station in September in which the offender fired a shot.
“It has become ridiculously easy for… criminals to get firearms. The evidence is apparent as police are stumbling across firearms and becoming involved in armed incidents on a daily basis,” said association president Greg O’Connor.
“Contrary to police assurances that armed incidents are ‘rare’, hardly a week goes by that police are not coming into contact with illegal firearms in the hands of offenders…
If you’re planning to emigrate to New Zealand because you think it hasn’t much of a crime problem and that kids can be kids for longer, you may wish to reconsider your decision and look elsewhere.
You may also be interested in these other articles about Kaitaia