People in Manurewa want to talk to the Prime Minister about street gangs, crime, drug abuse and impacts of the housing crisis that have left them fearing for their safety.
When asked what they would say if they could talk to the Prime Minister about Manurewa, people spoke about their pride in living in the community but shared a growing concern about safety and security given the substantial prevalence of disengaged youth, street gangs, criminal activity and drug abuse.
The views were raised during on-street interviews for the Salvation Army’s second annual State of Our Communities report. The report, launched today in Manurewa, tells the story of life in six New Zealand communities, including Manurewa, through the words of the people who live there.
Manurewa residents interviewed for the report spoke about critical issues including too many pokies, drugs gangs and crime, report author Ronji Tanielu says.
People, especially the elderly and the young, were concerned for their safety. They said walking the streets often brings an encounter with gangs, beggars and street hustlers. Young people are disengaged and get into crime and synthetic drugs, often leading the young people into intimidating other residents. Other concerns included damaging drug use, inadequate housing and anti-social behaviour. People feel these issues need to be dealt with if Manurewa is to be a healthy, stable and prosperous town in the future, he says.
“We found people in Manurewa love their suburb and see lots of strengths and positives about life there. However, they fear for its future due to social problems and would like to see the negative view towards their suburb and it's people turned around. To be a strong part of South Auckland, people feel they need better shopping facilities, more public facilities and venues, housing for the homeless and the recapturing of strong personal values amongst people.”
The Salvation Army will be sharing its findings in Manurewa and with the Government and will be working cooperatively to ensure the Government understands how it can better identify and deliver assistance in Manurewa.
Issued on the Authority of Commissioner Andrew
Westrupp (Territorial Commander)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory