The Government is soft on crime. Two people are in the news today saying that.
One is National Party leader Christopher Luxon. The other is retailer Christine Davis whose shop was robbed twice last week. She's had a gutsful and is pointing the finger at the Government.
On Mike Hosking's show this morning, she made the claim that since Labour came into government, retail crime has gone through the roof. She's saying it's a disgrace. She says we're not seeing the police as much as we used to and she's had enough.
I can fully understand where she's coming from. But I don't agree with her that it's just the current Government's fault. Just like I don't agree with Christopher Luxon when he says it's all the fault of the current Government.
I'll explain what I mean but, first, did you see the security camera footage of that ram raid at the mall up in Auckland? It was on the TV news last night and it's been all over the internet.
That was an absolute shocker. It was at the Ormiston Shopping Centre in east Auckland, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Three cars were driven through the entrances to the mall and about eight people could be seen on the footage running around nicking stuff while the cars raced around the mall.
From what I saw on the news, they weren't mucking around and it was just so weird seeing cars driven inside a mall like that. Not to mention incredibly dangerous. As the mall people said, it was just so lucky the cleaners weren't there at the time because it could've been disastrous.
Now I know ram raids have been happening for years here in New Zealand - I remember being woken up by a hell of a noise one night when I was living in Wellington years ago, looking out the window and seeing a car inside a bottle shop across the road and thieves helping themselves.
But when did we become a country where ram raids aren't out of the usual and where they're taken to the next level and we have turkeys like the ones involved in this thing up in Auckland thinking "we'll just go down to the mall, drive through the locked doors and take whatever we want"?
When did that happen? Well, according to Christine Davis - who was the retailer talking on Hosking's show this morning - it started happening when Labour came into government. And she's saying today that these things are happening simply because Labour is soft on crime.
The Government's response to that is that it's put 1400 extra police on the beat since it's been government and so it can't possibly be soft on crime. Not guilty, your honour!
National's police spokesman Mark Mitchell was also on with Hosking this morning. He said frontline police are struggling to cope because people who should be locked up are being let back onto the streets, and because crims know that the police pursuit policy means the cops won't chase them and chase them and chase them until they get them - and so they're getting more and more brazen.
And he's not wrong there, is he? Because these ram raids are exactly that, aren't they? They are just brazen. I can't even imagine entertaining the idea of driving a car through the front door of a mall. Can't imagine it.
But if I did think about it, even for a minute or two, the police pursuit policy or the hopeless Police Minister or the overworked police officers wouldn't come into the equation. I would just be driven by my greed and desperation - and that greed and desperation would not just be the fault of the current Government.
It would be the fault of a justice system which seems, time and time again, to be stacked against the victims of crime.
Just today, there's a story in the news about a 19-year-old who raped and abused girls and women at parties being sentenced to a year's home detention.
There's another one about a woman who stole $1 million from her employers being released from prison after serving less than half her jail sentence.
That's the justice system. Not the current Government.
What about the scores of people kicked out of their state houses because the previous National government thought it would be good for the finances not to have all those houses on the books?
That's not Labour's fault.
And what about the fact that kids from a very young age these days are so materialistic, and having the latest shoes worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and the latest iPhones worth thousands of dollars, seems to be the Holy Grail. What about that?
That we've just let the gangster culture permeate everything to the point where if you can't afford to live like the rappers in the videos, you've gotta nick the stuff you need to live like the gangsters in the videos.
And you've got to behave like the gangsters in the videos - even if that means driving a car through the front door of a mall at one in the morning and just taking whatever you want.
You can't blame the Government for that, can you? Really?
This situation we find ourselves in here in New Zealand in 2022 is not about the government-of-the-day getting soft, it's about society getting hard.
Selling off our state houses, creating demand for useless stuff that most of us can't afford, and waking up one day and wondering why it's gone so pear shaped.