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No bricks and mortar in Budget’s new housing spend

CARITAS AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND

MEDIA RELEASE

26 May 2016

No bricks and mortar in Budget’s new housing spend

Despite Budget 2016 taking small steps to invest in the wellbeing of families and individuals, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand says there is a noticeable lack of investment in building new homes – an important requirement to ensure all families can flourish

“The Budget does not substantially address key issues and concerns of the vulnerable in our community, in relation to secure and affordable housing, secure and adequate income and a social security system that meets the needs of families and individuals on a benefit,” says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.

“While emergency housing is essential, families need secure and affordable housing in the long term to truly make a difference for future generations. Families and homes go together.”

Of the announced $258 million new spending over four years for housing, only $38.7 million is budgeted to be spent in the next financial year. This is less than 5 percent of the $857 million budgeted for a new tax administration system.

Mrs Hickey says new investment to support the most vulnerable children is important, however every child needs a stable roof over their head and a family needs an adequate and stable income in order to flourish.

“From our recent experiences in supporting families and individuals through the benefit system, we see many struggling to meet their material needs and access their entitlements,” says Mrs Hickey.

Caritas appreciates that the safety of workers who administers benefits is important. However, the $11 million budgeted to increase security of WINZ offices needs also to ensure staff are adequately trained to relate to the vulnerable people that they are working with, and to ensure beneficiaries and low-income families receive all the assistance that is available to them.

“We welcome additional spending on apprenticeships and trades training. But the real benefits of investing in education and apprenticeships will not be experienced if we do not ensure that young people coming out of training go on to find secure and stable employment. Without more substantial changes in the way work is structured for many New Zealanders, education and training may still lead only to casual employment on inadequate incomes,” Mrs Hickey says.

ENDS

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