Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


A night shelter is not a home Nick Smith

Social Development Spokesperson
A night shelter is not a home Nick Smith
The Minister of Housing today dismissed the official definition of homelessness, further fuelling concerns that he is trivialising the breadth of the problem, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“Night shelters and refuges across the country provide up to 850 beds on any given day.

“According to Nick Smith anyone using one of those beds has a ‘a roof over their head’, so should not be categorised as homeless.

“Based on that, a family living in a garage, a couch surfer having to doss down in a mate’s lounge, or someone temporarily living in a boarding house because they have no permanent home, won’t be counted by the Minister or his department as being homeless either.

“This completely contradicts his Government’s own official definition of homelessness as set out by Statistics New Zealand. That suggests that either the Minister doesn’t know what it is, or he is deliberating trying to narrow down the problem. Either way, it is a frightening response.

“In Parliament today Mr Smith also tried to argue that defining ‘homeless’ was somehow ‘esoteric’. It might be for him, but for anyone else it’s pretty simple. Sleeping rough is not the only form of homelessness. Ask the person sleeping at a night shelter whether they feel like they have a home?

“Of course how we define the problem matters - especially given it determines whether Housing New Zealand prioritises someone for housing or not - which is perhaps why Mr Smith is trying to dismiss it.

“He also can’t seem to get to grips with the fact Housing New Zealand, by its own definition, houses on average just 250 ‘homeless’ people each year. On the other hand a service provider in one city had more than 200 new homeless clients through its doors last year and another,130.

“It is clear the Government has no strategy to deal with the complex social issue of homelessness.

“Still, it's no wonder with a minister who has such a narrow and ill-informed view of it.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news