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Action needed on poverty, housing and sustainability

24 May 2017

Budget 2017: Action needed on poverty, housing and sustainability

“Budget 2017 urgently needs to address the housing crisis, child poverty and environmental sustainability” says Keriata Stuart, of the Public Health Association. “Without a sea change in these vital areas, the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders will increasingly suffer.”

Stuart is one of several policy experts gathering in Wellington on Friday at a Post-Budget Breakfast to appraise Budget 2017 from a public health and child rights perspective.

“Increased health funding is vital, but health is not just about hospitals. It is about living in a dry warm house, with enough money for healthy food and other essentials, and with clean air and water and hope for the future” says Stuart. “Too many of our families and communities don’t have these basics for a healthy life, and the Public Health Association is not optimistic that Budget 2017 will turn the tide.”

“The support package for vulnerable children announced earlier this month provides an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. It needs to be part of a preventive approach that addresses root causes like poverty wages and unaffordable housing.”

The annual Wellington Post-Budget Breakfast event is hosted by local branches of the Public Health Association and Child Poverty Action Group. It features budget analysis from commentators including Alan Johnson, the Child Poverty Action Group’s housing expert; John Ryall of E Tū Union, representing low income workers; and Laura O’Connell Rapira, Director of Campaigns at Action Station.

“The aim of the event is to cut through the political spin and articulate the policies that are needed for children and communities to thrive, and whether the budget delivers on them” says Professor Michael Baker (University of Otago, Wellington, and longstanding Public Health Association Member) who will Chair the event.

Keriata Stuart (Public Health Association) will provide brief commentary from the floor, along with Steph McIntyre, Director of DCM who became a companion of the Queen's Service Order last year for her work with Wellington's homeless; Jess Berentsen-Shaw of the Morgan Foundation and co-author of book Pennies from Heaven, on alleviating child poverty; Amanda Malu, Plunket’s Chief Executive; Amanda Coulston, Chief Executive of Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens, and India Logan-Riley who attended the UN Climate talks in Paris as a delegate from the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute and Morocco as part of Indigenous Peoples caucus.

Key note speakers are:

Alan Johnson: CPAG’s Housing expert. Alan currently works as a social policy analyst for The Salvation Army's Social Policy & Parliamentary Unit. He is author of Off the Track which is The Salvation Army's 2017 State of Nation report. In his spare time he is a community activist in South Auckland where he is active as an administrator in local sports clubs and as a school trustee. He has also held positions as a trustee of the Auckland Community Housing Trust and as the Chair of Community Housing Aotearoa. He has an academic background in town planning and economics and has been involved in Auckland local government for over 20 years both as a politician and bureaucrat.
Laura O’Connell Rapira is the Director of Campaigns at ActionStation – a community organisation representing over 100,000 members that combines digital tools and people powerto drive a fairer, more just and sustainable Aotearoa. She is also the Co-founder of RockEnrol – a volunteer-run organisation dedicated to building and activating political power for young people through grassroots community organising and popular culture.
John Ryall is the Assistant National Secretary of E tū, representing low income workers (including about 9,000 who work as care and support workers in aged care, disability support and community mental health). E tū has been involved alongside other unions in winning minimum wage rights. E tū, on behalf of caregiver Kristine Bartlett, took a case through the courts arguing that tens of thousands of low paid women were underpaid because their jobs suffered from historical gender undervaluation. John was the lead negotiator for the group of unions who recently won a $2.06 billion settlement from the Government for 55,000 care and support workers.

Event details:
7:15-8:45am, Friday 26 May
The Boatshed, Taranaki Street Wharf
Note: Tickets have sold out, and door sales will not be available.
Media are invited to attend.


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