— Wellington, Tuesday 12 February 2013
Creative And Courageous Leadership Vital If New Zealand Is To Make Social Progress, Says Salvation Army
To successfully confront growing problems of inadequate housing, child poverty and youth unemployment a new style of political and public leadership is required, says The Salvation Army.
The title of the sixth annual State of the Nation report, ‘She'll Be Right’, alludes to a leadership approach that is failing to deliver adequate solutions to New Zealand’s most pressing social issues.
With thorough reference to social and economic data by report author Alan Johnson, the State of the Nation report highlights crime and punishment as an area where strong political and public service leadership is really making a difference.
There are very encouraging signs that things may be improving with falling rates of offending and declines in recidivism.
However, the report reveals how little has been achieved over the past five years in affordable housing, reducing child poverty and providing work for young people.
‘Unfortunately, the leadership we have seen in the areas of crime and punishment is not dealing to entrenched social scourges of inadequate housing, child poverty and youth unemployment,’ says Major Campbell Roberts, head of The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit.
The Salvation Army has given the nation a harsh ‘no progress’ grading in these three areas.
‘Sometimes it seems that as a nation we’re taking a “she’ll be right” attitude to policy,’ says Major Roberts. ‘This results in people living in situations of unnecessary hardship.’
The Salvation Army assisted over 120,000
Kiwis last year. Cases included:
•a young person actively looking for a job for three years without success
•parents unable to pay for corrective lenses for their son
•a family forced to move five times in two years because of high housing costs.
‘There is a danger that these scenarios will become the new normal if a complacent “she’ll be right’ attitude becomes ingrained in the public’s view,’ says Major Roberts. ‘The Salvation Army is calling for bold and visionary leadership that values the people of this country and changes the circumstances of children falling into poverty.’
As part of the Wellington and Dunedin launches of the report, MPs from a number of parties are set to discuss ‘the type of leadership needed to guide New Zealand forward’.
The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, based in Manukau, was established to assist the Army’s work toward the eradication of poverty in New Zealand.
Issued on the Authority of
Commissioner Donald Bell (Territorial Commander)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory
Read the report online:
The State of the Nation Report (‘She’ll Be Right’) will be available for download from www.salvationarmy.org.nz/socialpolicy from midnight, Tuesday 12 February.
Scoop copy of report: 20130211SPPUTSASotN2013Web.pdf