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Hobson Community Leaders “Blind”

15 April 2004

Hobson Community Leaders “Blind” Say Children Advocates

The Child Poverty Action Group is donating $250 towards the United Nations Youth Association Conference on poverty after the Hobson Community Board recently turned down the Association’s request for $500.

“It is unbelievable that the Hobson Community Board is so blind as to think poverty is not an issue for their area,” says CPAG spokesperson and Hobson area resident Janfrie Wakim.

“The area may include some of the wealthiest suburbs in New Zealand, but do they think that the effects of a malnourished and poorly educated population stop at their boundaries?

“The fact that one in three children is being brought up in poverty should be of grave concern to all New Zealanders who are interested in the health of our country’s future and economy.”

Hobson Community Board member Aaron Bhatnagar was quoted in the Bays and Remuera Times as saying he would be more likely to recommend the board approve funding if the association were investigating terrorism or the overthrow of dictators.

“That would be laughable, if it did not signify such a serious lack of understanding of local issues,” said Ms Wakim, who was also surprised by the reported lack of comment from other community board members.

She said the Hobson Community Board’s area had more to fear from poverty-driven crime than any terrorist activity.

The Auckland City Mission, which is located within the Hobson Community Board area, supports CPAG’s statements.

“The large numbers of people who use our services daily are often in dire need,” said Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson. “Community leaders turning a blind eye to poverty and denying it even exists is just going to exacerbate the problem.”

CPAG is already giving a presentation at the United Nations Youth Conference to be held this Saturday 17 April in Parnell. Ms Wakim said that the group was giving as much money as it could to help make up the shortfall left by the community board’s decision.

ENDS

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