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Not Enough Left in the Budget for low-income communities

Auckland Action Against Poverty is hosting a family friendly Community Hui to highlight the lack of meaningful initiatives by Government in this year’s Wellbeing Budget to genuinely address growing levels of poverty and homelessness. The event will happen this Saturday, 8th of June, 12:30pm at the Wiri Community Hall. The hui will bring together union members, beneficiaries, and community groups to highlight the shortcomings of the Wellbeing Budget and vision a future that is truly transformative. There will be a sausage sizzle, speakers, a kid’s zone, artists from We Are Beneficiaries, and information about ways to get involved in the community to work towards ending poverty. Speakers will include The Aunties founder Jackie Clarke, AAAP co-chair Kathleen Paraha and Reverend Mua Strickson-Pua.

“This year’s budget failed to deliver meaningful welfare reform and a commitment to build enough public housing. The Government failed to listen to the community and its own reports calling for an urgent increase to baseline benefit levels and far more investment into the public housing sector”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty’s Coordinator.

“We keep being told by the Government there is not enough left for teachers, beneficiaries, and low-income communities to have access to decent living conditions, housing and public services, despite running a surplus and taking in as little crown debt as possible. The Government’s aim to keep its debt levels within the Budget Responsibility Rules is burdening low-income communities with record household debt and driving record number of people into Work and Income for emergency assistance.

“We’re putting a Community Hui to start organising from within the community to build power to challenge successive Government’s failure to take transformative action on inequality. This will be the first event in a series of advocacy trainings, workshops, and community actions aimed at creating spaces for the grassroots to demand solutions and support each other.

“While we welcome the boost in funding to mental health services in this year’s budget, it makes little sense to put $1.9b into mental health without fixing one of the biggest determinants of mental health wellbeing: poverty. The people we work with at Auckland Action Against Poverty are in distress because they have no guarantee they’ll have a place to live each week and are often in poor living conditions if in emergency housing. No amount of additional funding for mental health support workers will address the stress that comes because due to deprivation and material uncertainty.

“We’re starting these series of community events and focusing in South Auckland not just because it is the area we primarily operate in, but because it is one of New Zealand’s regions with the highest levels of material deprivation. Both at local and central Government levels the communities in the area have been deprived of adequate funding and infrastructure to address historical and geographical injustices.

“This Community Hui is open to anyone who wants to see genuine transformative change. The only way we can build a future where everyone has access to housing, liveable incomes and sees our environment protected is by building relationships based on solidarity at a community level.

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