by Selwyn Manning
A report which shows 73 percent of households cannot meet all regular bills confirms Scoop reports into the plight of low socio-economic families.
Overcrowded living conditions are the norm for 40 percent of those surveyed, and 44 percent paid almost half their income in rent.
The Family Centre Organisation nationwide survey of 400 households, claims to be the first random survey of its type in the 1990s.
Family Centre spokesperson Charles Waldegrave says of the households surveyed, 40% were overcrowded, and that 44% of the households paid 40% or more of their income on rent or a mortgage.
Thirteen per cent said they were inadequately clothed.
Bare essentials were also out of the reach of many, with staple foods such as potatoes abandoned for cheaper less nutritious diets.
Half of those surveyed could not feed their families at least once in the last three months. And if sickness inflicted the household, 56% said they were unable to visit the doctor in the last year because they could not afford to.
The facts gleaned from the survey raises serious questions about the effectiveness of social policy in New Zealand.
Charles Waldegrave says: "If you can't get enough food of course that gets you sick, and once you get sick you've got to pay your bills, then you can't afford the food.'
The findings confirm Scoop investigations into why southern Auckland social services are witnessing blown governmental budgets and resulting ineffective services.
See: No Prime Minister - The Buck
Stops With You at
Meningitis Worst in Developed World at http://www.scoop.co.nz/archive/scoop/stories/53/11/199907220012.6078fdd9.html
Middlemore Hospital again this year saw record numbers of children and the elderly cramming into its wards. Chief executive David Clarke titled it 'A Winter from Hell!'
Auckland public health officers issued warning after warning as contagious diseases such as meningitis rose to what they termed 'third world'levels.
People living in south Auckland and Glen Innes were particularly susceptible.
It has long been
suspected that overcrowded living conditions is a major
contributor to escalating rates of communicable diseases.
And this all aids a downward spiral in health status and
living conditions for those less well