White Crime

Where is the voice on white crime?


This year has seen the incarceration of directors and senior managers from failed finance companies.  There are a few common denominators in the carryon of these people.  Firstly, their focus appears to be greed and the rulings from the courts support this supposition.  The second and more sinister common denominator is that all these people are pakeha.


History records for white people verify that Australia started as a penal colony and that must influence some of the big business behaviours today.  New Zealand was not a penal colony, but in many ways is similar to the USA in the sense that the settlers were escaping their home country to start a better life.  Yet for many decades, white people have perpetuated the ominus “white collar crime”.  The ethics of a community struggling to form a new life has been lost.  Losing some of the original drivers that started the white colonisation of a nation makes sense.  It is about the development of a nation, as it is never stagnant but always evolving.  The question for me is, into what is New Zealand/USA evolving?


As a pakeha (white) New Zealander I feel shame for what my fellow white citizens are doing and I have more shame at the silence, or lack of spurning at the behaviour of a dishonest group of our society.  The silence leaves me with the sense that the majority of white people are comfortable with this illegal behaviour.  Somehow, except for the victims, no one has the courage to speak out and revile these criminals. 


Where is the debate (beyond the victims), where is the community gathering to obviate these people from society.  I have heard more judgemental comments on the victims for falling prey to the predator than I have heard attacks on the predators.


“White collar crime” destroys lives.  A friend who was a retired Presbyterian Minister had spent his whole working life saving for retirement.  Anyone who knows anything about the life of a Minister of Religion (excepting a few modern churches) knows that Ministers do not get paid a lot and generally live a frugal life.  My friend was so distraught by his financial loss that he did not live long after losing nearly all his retirement money.  The loss cannot be 100% attributable to his death, but anyone who knew him argues it was a major contributor to his demise.  If the perpetrator had been a burglar and had terrorised him in his home, and he had died a short time later we would want the perpetrator incarcerated for life.  There would have been no derogatory remarks about the victim, just sympathy or empathy.  How did these double standards relating to crime come about?  Where is the cost of the devastating impact on this man’s life?


I do not know the solution – I do know the shame I have over people of my race committing these heinous crimes and there is minimal outrage.  I do not believe the system of putting people in jail works.  All that system accomplishes is making part of society feel comfortable and safe.  If the system works, why is the recidivism rate so high? There is a need for creative debate around appropriate punishments.  True justice is about putting right what was wrong.  Maybe as a white society, we need to examine our values/ethics and have gatherings to debate what we should be doing about this.  Maybe we need to take responsibility for our own people.


Here are some questions in no particular order I think warrant discussion:


  • Why are pakeha not doing more about the culture of white crime that exists among them?
  • Why do pakeha berate the victim and through their silence applaud the perpetrator?
  • Is it not time pakeha took responsibility for the behaviours of their people?
  • Why is the government not making more harsh penalties for these people?
  • Why is there not a culture of “throw away the key” towards these perpetrators?