In what seems to be a flashback to Jenny Shipley's Code of Social and Family Responsibility [PDF], National's Simon Power has said that he wants to introduce Blair-style control orders in New Zealand, allowing schools and police to set curfews on "unruly" children and punish parents for failure to control them, all without the bother of having to go to court or needing actual evidence. It's ironic that National, whose supporters regularly decry the idea of a "nanny state" when talking of taxation and social welfare, want to establish one in its most coercive sense in the area of social policy. But this is worse than ironic - it's a bad idea. In the UK, the system of "Anti-Social Behaviour Orders" (ASBOs) has been widely abused, being used to exile people from or confine them to their homes - effectively a criminal punishment - on the basis of gossip, heresay, and sheer unpopularity. They have also been used to enforce social conformity and punish people for "offences" such as sarcasm and wandering round the house in your underwear (whatever happened to "an Englishwoman's house is her castle"?) - not to mention begging and prostitution. Worse, they have increasingly been used against the mentally ill, targetting those who, through no fault of their own, simply cannot "fit in". And they do all this while ignoring the presumption of innocence and the basic standards of criminal justice, through the fiction of being a civil proceeding - despite having a statutory penalty of five year's jail for any breach.
Red Pepper calls ASBOs "institutionalised spite". I'd go beyond that and call them an affront to the British justice system, not to mention the basic standards of decency. This is not a policy we should be emulating, and it is shameful that the National party is even considering it.