Child Poverty, the rising prison population and homelessness are three major issues highlighted in the Salvation Army’s 2017 State of the Nation Report.
The report entitled, ‘Off the Track’ compiled by the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit highlights the alarmingly high rate of child poverty and child abuse and outlines that attempts to reduce this “have failed to put a dent in rates of child poverty over the past decade.”
Statistics show that over two hundred thousand children currently live in income poverty.
The expanding prison population and high rates of recidivism are also identified as a major concern, it says New Zealand’s prison population reached a record 9,851 and is set toi top 10.000 this year.
According to the report, “Our efforts to reduce the prison population have failed and we are planning to expand the already record high prison population by a further 18%.”
It also draws attention to the ‘alarming’ lack of safe affordable housing which it says “has resulted in a level of homelessness not seen in New Zealand in the lifetime of most Kiwis.”
The report’s author, Social Policy Analyst Alan Johnson draws attention to the fact that these issues should be considered seriously by all New Zealanders.
“In an election year, it is timely to challenge all who would aspire to govern—and, in fact, all New Zealanders who are part of the fabric of Aotearoa New Zealand—to think deeply about the social progress we want to achieve for ourselves and our children.”
It also poses the question, “Are we heading off the track in a way that benefits only a few (and perhaps only in the short term), while leaving others at risk? Or will we work together to establish a track leading to a New Zealand where all children and families are able to live, grow and be supported to flourish in a nation we might gladly call ‘God’s own’.”
The report identified that the National-led government has made improvements in economic growth and there has been an increase in job numbers, particularly over the past five years but the lack of social progress in the areas highlighted iis what most concerns The Salvation Army.
Talisa Kupenga will have more on this report tonight on Te Kaea at 5:30.