The Salvation Army
Salvation Army issues 'State of the Nation' report
Wellington, 11 February 2008 - The Salvation Army has issued its first 'state of the nation' report which assesses New Zealand's progress on a range of key social indicators.
The report, "What does it profit us?" analyses changes over the past five years in the position of children; crime and the punishment of criminals; Kiwi's working lives; hazards related to alcohol, drugs and gambling; and housing affordability.
The Salvation Army's Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit director, Major Campbell Roberts, says that the report is an effort to give more importance to social indicators when measuring the nation's progress.
'There is a lot of emphasis on economics in how we are progressing as a country, but the way people are living their lives, particularly the most vulnerable in our society, is just as important in measuring overall progress.
'Social statistics like those in our report should not be ignored because they give a valuable glimpse at the changing lives of New Zealanders.'
Major Roberts says that social outcomes over the past five years are mixed and in some areas disappointing.
'More children appear to be at risk of harm, more are engaged in petty crime, there is more violent crime and more people in jails.
'While more New Zealanders are working than ever before and many have benefited from the recent housing market boom, incomes have risen only modestly, we are chronically indebted, and home ownership rates have dropped.
'As a country we have invested hugely in core social spending, from $23b 10 years ago to $39b this year, but with very little increase in social progress. In fact, the gap between rich and poor appears to be widening.
'If we are to make real social progress then we need as a country to reflect on the relative priority we give to economic issues versus social concerns. We have a duty to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are not left behind.'
The full report is available at www.salvationarmy.org.nz