Many of New Zealand's unimaginative criminal class who target dairies, liquor stores, bars and fast-food outlets are seriously damaged goods raised in rotten homes where booze and violence ruled. This sub-class costs society a hugely disproportionate amount of money and social disorder. It's time Government came up with a different way of handling them.

They're incompetent bunglers too; from drug importers and sellers, to the lot who did a ram raid on a jeweller. The risk-reward equation I figured out as follows: dairy robbers swap freedom for four years in prison, meaning their crime made them about $2 a week. Clever boys. Rob a liquor store with a lethal weapon and that's a net six years inside. Three-hundred-and-twelve weeks works out at, what, $3 weekly for each dunderhead robber. The drug dudes think they're the glamour boys of crime, so skite about splurging on their own drugs, hookers and booze during their next 10 incarcerated years.

Beyond stupid, it's a form of sub-conscious self-destruction. Does welfare make them like that? I think it is past due time this entire sub-class gets held to account. No, hefty prison sentences don't stop the next lot from oozing and slithering out of the sewers. They can't be forced to reflect; moral values can't be bought by governments and handed to them. There has to be another way.

This columnist and another, my friend Bob Jones, warned more than 20 years ago that welfarism had created a monster. We got howled down by many white liberals, many of the left " not least the country's academia " and by many Maori leaders (because we dared to say the majority of problems belonged to Maori). Nothing got done. And the problems have got worse.

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With horrendous house prices, home ownership is now even more the impossible dream. In fact, most of the demographic I'm talking about don't have such a dream. They are permanent renters, often uninvited squatters at relations' and friends' rented properties.

Readers, living just off some of Auckland's motorways are societies you know little or nothing about. I don't mean the employed couples working long hours to support their families. I mean the generational welfare dependents who the state has been rewarding for being losers and in some cases criminals.

For every dairy and liquor store that exists, are young men, some of brown skin, some children of welfare beneficiaries, planning a violent robbery on said premises. What Bob and I tried to warn governments about is welfare exacting a price. Of lost dignity. Of the rug of solid values pulled out from under their feet, since the government payments absolved them of responsibility and predictably created a criminal sub-class.

Free money to able-bodied humans anywhere can do just the opposite of what it intends: take away the will to work, the guts to struggle, the spirit to pick yourself up.

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No, I'm not saying that every child whose parent or parents is on a benefit is a criminal. Not for a moment. But I am repeating the warning that free money to able-bodied humans anywhere can do just the opposite of what it intends: take away the will to work, the guts to struggle, the spirit to pick yourself up by the bootstraps.

And let it be said, it is a hell of a lot easier for people exposed to more diverse and broader knowledge to get up and go than it is for someone surrounded by low-income people drowning in their own misery, wallowing in negativity.

They are also prey for payday money lenders. "Get instant cash " right now!" And, in smallest print, pay 2-300 per cent interest on your loan. Dodgy truck shop operators feast on these people's gullibility, on their outlook of instant gratification: "Have what you want " right now! Easy credit terms!"

But, people, you made the choice. Sorry, but it's time to cut them adrift, float on life's high seas full of sharks with a nose for their blood type. The problem, in my opinion, is a certain percentage don't try to help themselves - and nor should we be helping them.

Some social workers are wasting taxpayers' money and do-gooders their hard work. Truck shop fleecers would not exist without ill-disciplined, uninformed customers lining up to sign on for being ripped off. If the government pays a base living to criminals, hello, won't they continue as that?

We have to accept that every population has a small percentage of people who either don't get it, or won't. This endless play will still be acted out a hundred, a thousand years after you and I are gone. Cut off welfare money and focus energies on the 85-plus per cent getting on with life.