Source: Salvation Army, 14 February 2018
New Zealand cannot separate out its poorest people and pretend
they don't matter, says The Salvation Army in its annual State of
the Nation Report.
This year's report
Kei a Tātou - It Is Us shows that for many New
Zealanders incomes have hardly moved, welfare needs have increased
and rents are rising faster than incomes. This comes despite more
jobs being created and GDP rising, report author Alan Johnson
"New Zealand cannot separate out its poorest people and pretend
they don't matter. New Zealand is us - all of us who see
ourselves as Kiwi. So when some of us miss out, the responsibility
for correcting it belong to us all."
The full impact is seen in a "frightening" rise in the number of
families falling into food poverty. After five years of almost
unchanged demand the number of families seeking food parcels from
The Salvation Army's 65 foodbanks jumped 12 per cent- the biggest
increase in since the recession.
"That's the true cost of rent rises and slow wage growth on our
most vulnerable families." Mr Johnson says.
This year marks 10 years since the first Salvation Army State of
the Nation report.
As well as the usual five year analysis, this year's report
includes a snapshot of how the country has progressed of the past
On the plus side the report shows New Zealand is achieving well
in closing educational achievement gaps, increasing participation
in early childhood education, creating jobs, and reducing infant
mortality, teenage pregnancy and youth suicide.
Credible job growth means more New Zealanders have the
opportunity to work, but the reward for that work in salaries and
wages has fallen behind growth in Gross Domestic Product.
Extra buoyancy in the economy has not led to fewer children in
poverty, or a reduction in the number of young people without
meaningful work. The community cost in dealing with the epidemic
growth in methamphetamine has increased, with an 80% growth in
methamphetamine related offences in the past 3 years. While, poor
public policy decisions by governments has seen the prison
population surge to record levels, despite a consistent drop in
Areas requiring more effort include; providing more affordable
and social housing, addressing our methamphetamine problems,
lowering living costs for low income people, providing young people
with jobs and lowering the number of people going and returning to