Motel ‘solution’ just a bandaid

Kiri Allan

COLUMN

Big Norm had it right back in the 1970s: “All Kiwis want is someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and something to hope for”. It’s a simple theory but, if done right, happiness is quite simple.

So, when I saw recently that the Government is planning to spend $2.5 million to purchase a motor lodge to provide emergency accommodation for families here in Gisborne, alarm bells rang.

The quarterly figures released by the Ministry for Social Development show there has been a 20 percent increase in hardship assistance over the past two years paid to families on the East Coast. In the quarter ending in March 2017, over $8 million was dealt out to families in emergency need through the Special Needs Grant. Per day, National are spending $100,000 a day putting Kiwi families up in hotels.

At the same time, while housing needs are rising and the cost to the Government for emergency needs inflates here, as recently as December last year they were planning to sell off 92 state houses in Gisborne over the next 10 years. The Government now says it plans to increase the number of state houses here.

Instead of looking at long-term solutions to Gisborne’s housing needs, this Government has found a bandaid-type pre-election solution — buy a motel and she’ll be right, mate.

Well, she won’t be right mate if our statistics are anything to go by.

We have double the unemployment rates to the national average and fewer people living in decent homes. We have a growing number of people here saying that they aren’t surviving, let alone thriving, in our current economic environment.

Labour’s position is that the sell-off of state houses and National’s practice of taking large “dividends” out of Housing New Zealand need to stop. All up, National has taken $1.8 billion in dividends, taxes and interest payments out of Housing NZ.

In government, Labour will run Housing New Zealand as a public service and allow it to retain those funds to build thousands more state houses.

Since I was announced as Labour’s candidate for the East Coast, my team and I have knocked on over 8000 doors — so, from the anecdotal evidence we’ve received on the doorsteps, I know there are extreme housing and accommodation stresses for many families.

Sure, label folk sad, mad, bad or whatever it is that we need to do to not really see the impacts of this current Government’s policies that prioritise the “haves” over the “have nots”.

But when I look around right now, the simple equation that Big Norm put forward for Kiwis to live a decent and happy life is now a mere dream for many folk living here in Gisborne and throughout the East Coast — and that’s not OK in my books.

That’s why I’ve put my hand up to run as Labour’s candidate here on the East Coast — because someone needs to hold the decision-makers for our region accountable in Parliament.

Our region deserves an advocate that loves this place, and our people deserve the simple things: someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and something to hope for.

Big Norm had it right back in the 1970s: “All Kiwis want is someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and something to hope for”. It’s a simple theory but, if done right, happiness is quite simple.

So, when I saw recently that the Government is planning to spend $2.5 million to purchase a motor lodge to provide emergency accommodation for families here in Gisborne, alarm bells rang.

The quarterly figures released by the Ministry for Social Development show there has been a 20 percent increase in hardship assistance over the past two years paid to families on the East Coast. In the quarter ending in March 2017, over $8 million was dealt out to families in emergency need through the Special Needs Grant. Per day, National are spending $100,000 a day putting Kiwi families up in hotels.

At the same time, while housing needs are rising and the cost to the Government for emergency needs inflates here, as recently as December last year they were planning to sell off 92 state houses in Gisborne over the next 10 years. The Government now says it plans to increase the number of state houses here.

Instead of looking at long-term solutions to Gisborne’s housing needs, this Government has found a bandaid-type pre-election solution — buy a motel and she’ll be right, mate.

Well, she won’t be right mate if our statistics are anything to go by.

We have double the unemployment rates to the national average and fewer people living in decent homes. We have a growing number of people here saying that they aren’t surviving, let alone thriving, in our current economic environment.

Labour’s position is that the sell-off of state houses and National’s practice of taking large “dividends” out of Housing New Zealand need to stop. All up, National has taken $1.8 billion in dividends, taxes and interest payments out of Housing NZ.

In government, Labour will run Housing New Zealand as a public service and allow it to retain those funds to build thousands more state houses.

Since I was announced as Labour’s candidate for the East Coast, my team and I have knocked on over 8000 doors — so, from the anecdotal evidence we’ve received on the doorsteps, I know there are extreme housing and accommodation stresses for many families.

Sure, label folk sad, mad, bad or whatever it is that we need to do to not really see the impacts of this current Government’s policies that prioritise the “haves” over the “have nots”.

But when I look around right now, the simple equation that Big Norm put forward for Kiwis to live a decent and happy life is now a mere dream for many folk living here in Gisborne and throughout the East Coast — and that’s not OK in my books.

That’s why I’ve put my hand up to run as Labour’s candidate here on the East Coast — because someone needs to hold the decision-makers for our region accountable in Parliament.

Our region deserves an advocate that loves this place, and our people deserve the simple things: someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and something to hope for.

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Mary-Ann de Kort - 4 months ago
Well said Kiri Allan. Gisborne and the East Coast have been neglected for too long. When did people stop caring about each other and about the core egalitarian which used to define our once great country?

wiki gerrard - 4 months ago
Loved your column Kiri and good luck with the elections. We need someone like you for the Gisborne East Coast region!

Maxine Boa - 4 months ago
This government is building only transitional housing here in Napier - 3 months tenancy, 1 bedroom . . . another form of motel life. No security, no ability to settle in, not enough space, no sense of belonging, kids disconnect from school, the cycle continues. We have formed the Community Housing Action Team, out of Maraenui. We are making as much noise as we can to expose the horrors of the housing crisis and holding a rally on Sunday 6 August, 2pm at the Napier Soundshell. People are really suffering, as Kiri so eloquently says.

richard mathew - 4 months ago
Mary-Ann, I don't think people have stopped caring. Rather the Govt and its varied institutions have lost track of their core responsibilities, namely serving the people who employ them. Since the '80s it has become the 'bottom line' as dictated by the accountants.

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