For immediate release
— Wellington, Thursday, 11 December 2008
Issued on the Authority of
Commissioner Garth McKenzie (Territorial Commander)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory
More state housing will be a relief to many low-income New Zealanders.
The Salvation Army says the Government’s decision to reverse its plans to cap the number of state houses will be a great relief to South Auckland and other lower socioeconomic communities.
Analysis undertaken by The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit in October estimated a shortfall of 2500 dwellings in Auckland, with half of the deficit in Manukau City.
The unit’s director Major Campbell Roberts said the demand for affordable housing in South Auckland is desperate, with Housing New Zealand referring many of those seeking accommodation to The Salvation Army for emergency housing.
“We work in the zone where policy and the community meet, and when several families are squeezed into one house or children are living in garages then action clearly needs to be taken.”
“The Salvation Army commends the Government for reviewing its earlier decision to cap the number of state houses, and we’re relieved it is responding to a significant problem in a socially-responsible way,” Major Campbell said.
The Government’s earlier commitment to improve on the quality of its housing stock will benefit the health of its tenants, which is also warmly welcomed by The Salvation Army, Major Campbell said.
The Government’s change of heart may also provide some stimulus to the building sector, which The Salvation Army calculates is in the process of shedding 15,000 jobs.