Monday, December 09, 2013

National's New Zealand

The latest from National's New Zealand: a family forced to live in a tent in a public park because of Housing NZ cuts:

Welfare groups are helping a Christchurch mother and her three children move into a tent in a public park because they cannot find the family a home.

From today, Maori wardens will stand guard 24 hours a day to provide Nellie Hunt and her children some security at their tent in Waltham Park.


The single mother has been on the Housing New Zealand waiting list for months. She has applied and been rejected by dozens of rental homes and three different social agencies have combed the city for accommodation without success.

Her parents "haven't got much" and cannot take her in. Every camping ground she has contacted is full and with a teenage daughter, she is not eligible for a women's shelter.

Hunt, 35, and her children, Mahara, 16, Rawini, 11, and Manawa, 9, are now homeless.

The best option social workers could find was to pitch a tent in Waltham Park, and roster Maori wardens for protection.

This should not be happening in New Zealand. Making sure everyone has a roof over their head is one of the core duties of our government. It's what HousingNZ is for. But National has gutted it, restricting it to emergency cases. But if this isn't an emergency, then what the hell is?

Meanwhile, its worth noting: Gerry Brownlee, the Minister for "earthquake recovery" and Tsar of Christchurch, owns four properties in the city. If any of them are untenanted, Hunt should just move in there. Alternatively, I'm sure Brownlee has a backyard at his expensive Fendalton home; pitching her tent there might ensure that her case is dealt with swiftly and efficiently, as it should have been in the first place.