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Maori Underclass Has Emerged

NZ Council of Christian Social Services Media Release

Immediate Use

Maori Underclass Has Emerged

Monitoring of food banks nationally over a three year period has revealed the development and growth of a Maori underclass, according to a recent report of the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services.

The report shows that the highest Maori need is in the Waikato, where 61% of all clients attending the food bank are Maori. In Manukau there was a rise in Maori clients of 10% over two years. In six out of seven of the food banks spread throughout New Zealand, the proportion of Maori clients was higher than the city population proportion. No food bank saw a decrease in the number of its Maori clients. "New Zealand seems to have created a poverty trap that many Maori can't climb out of", says NZCCSS spokesperson Major Campbell Roberts.

In the worst circumstances the report makes grim reading:

- In Wellington 49% of all clients pay 50% or more of their income on housing despite Government housing allowances and special benefit provisions.

- In Christchurch 86% of clients need to incur debt to survive.

- In South Auckland 60% risk losing their electricity connection as a result of debt to power suppliers.

- Over 80% nationally are below the poverty line.

"A Maori underclass exists and is growing and this requires a concentrated national strategy if it is to be overcome", Major Roberts said. "If we continue to tolerate these inequalities as a nation then New Zealand will experience the high social cost of deprivation and dissent."

NZ Council of Christian Social Services

admin@nzccss.org.nz

Information about NZCCSS and the Poverty Indicator Project

The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) represents the social services of the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic and Presbyterian Churches as well as the Methodist Church and the Salvation Army. Collectively, our members have around 550 social service delivery sites across the country.

The Poverty Indicator Project has been running in this format since the beginning of 2001. Ten previous quarterly reports have been produced.

The Project focuses on key results about the housing, income, employment and debt circumstances of clients who have gone to seven foodbanks - one each in Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Palmerston North, Hamilton, and Manukau City.

Local foodbank contacts are available from Andrew Green at NZCCSS (04) 473 2627.

Note that this is only an indication of poverty in two ways:

- it only measures results from a small sub-set of the total number of foodbanks in NZ (approx. 300); and

- those coming to foodbanks are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of those experiencing some form of poverty. They are the ones who have the courage and/or are desperate enough to ask for food - usually after exhausting or being refused other forms of help.

Key Results

The following pages summarise the key results by agency.

Key Statistics

A selection of 4th Quarter 2003 (1 Oct - 30 Dec 2003) Poverty Indicator Project Results

Southland Foodbank Presbyterian Support Otago Christchurch City Mission Wellington Downtown Community Ministry Palmerston North Methodist Mission Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank Manukau Salvation Army

Avg. number of Applicants Per month 37 152 116 41 97 123 103

% of respondents who are female 75% 59% 59% 35% 62% 73% 85%

% of respondents who are sole parents 49% 29% 35% 12% 43% 39% 48%

% of respondents who are single 22% 34% 35% 65% 28% 20% 13%

% of respondent households with children 74% 51% 58% 31% 61% 72% 89%

% of Pacific Island respondents 1% 2% 4% 6% 4% 6% 18%

% of Maori respondents 12% 16% 25% 28% 42% 61% 60%

Median Income $320 $289 $300 $223 $240 $359 $350

Median housing cost $120 $120 $118 $115 $120 $150 $155

Median Disposable Income $196 $155 $155 $136 $140 $180 $156

% of respondents spending more than 30% of their income on housing 76% 75% 70% 84% 78% 80% 80%

% of respondents spending more than 50% of their income on housing 27% 33% 38% 49% 39% 44% 54%

% of applicants in debt 45% 68% 86% 66% 85% 27% 89%

% of applicants in debt to Work and Income 39% 55% 74% 53% 56% 25% 68%

Quarterly and Annual Change

Comparison of PIP figures from 4th Quarter 2003 with 3rd Quarter 2003 and 4th Quarter 2002 figures. Negative values indicate a decrease over time.

Southland Foodbank Presbyterian Support Otago Christchurch City Mission Wellington Downtown Community Ministry Palmerston North Methodist Mission Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank Manukau Salvation Army

Avg. number of Applicants Per month -6 2 33 18 3 28 -20 -13 25 4 7 -22 -113 -77

% of respondents who are female 0% -1% 2% 0% -1% 3% 0% -6% 4% -0% 8% 7% 8% 9%

% of respondents who are sole parents 7% -3% 3% -4% -1% -1% 1% -2% 9% 2% -1% -4% -0% 1%

% of respondents who are single -3% 6% -0% 1% 3% -1% -10% -5% -10% -4% 0% -2% 4% 3%

% of respondent households with children -0% -4% 3% -2% 2% -2% 11% -12% 11% 1% 2% 9% -1% 3%

% of Pacific Island respondents -1% NR -0% -1% 2% -0% 1% 3% 2% 1% -3% 5% -15% -21%

% of Maori respondents -1% 1% -2% -2% -3% -3% -7% -2% -6% -1% 0% 5% 11% 11%

Median Income $7 $0 $45 $64 $11 $59 $3 $23 $27 -$18 $59 $47 $9 $46

Median housing cost $0 $20 $20 $20 -$18 -$3 $5 $9 $14 $10 $8 $0 -$23 $25

Average (mean) Disposable Income $16 -$15 $14 $0 $7 $21 $26 $36 $10 -$5 $4 $10 -$14 -$22

% of respondents spending more than 30% of their income on housing -6% 8% 2% -2% -13% -12% 1% 0% -1% -2% -6% 1% -2% 10%

% of respondents spending more than 50% of their income on housing 4% 22% 5% 5% -5% -9% 4% -3% -8% 1% -2% -3% 4% 11%

% of applicants in debt 4% 7% -1% -5% -1% -4% -9% -4% 2% 4% 7% 10% 8% 14%

% of applicants in debt to Work and Income 3% 17% -4% -1% 5% -0% -9% 1% 6% 4% 8% 10% 10% 17%



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