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National’s brighter future

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, July 16th, 2017 - 11 comments
Categories: grant robertson, housing, national, paula bennett, Politics, same old national - Tags: , , ,

New Zealand used to be a land where everyone had a chance to have a decent life. Norm Kirk put it well in this description that Grant Robertson has referred to many times:

What New Zealanders want is somewhere to work, somewhere to live, someone to love and something to hope for.”

We have drifted far from that ideal.  Nowadays far too many people do not have somewhere to live.  And they are dying because they do not have that most basic of human requirements.

On July 1, 2017 Keith Johnson died in Onehunga.  Stuff had this touching article about his life which included this:

A well-known homeless man who had a cheeky smile and lovable nature died on a bench in an Auckland cemetery.

Keith Johnson, died aged 57 on the same bench he had sat on most days for the past four years in St Peter’s cemetery in Onehunga on July 1.

Johnson was not in the best of health, and his alcoholism may have contributed to his death, those close to him say.

An outpouring of love and messages have been placed on his bench including table spread, flowers and tomato sauce.

The public has responded to Johnson’s death with an outpouring of grief. Mementos including a surfboard, table spreads, flowers and notes have been left at the bench he used to occupy.

Constable Don Allan would regularly walk the beat in the morning around the church and always looked out for Johnson.

“Keith was a loveable person and always had a cheeky smile,” Allan said.

“He made friends easily and touched the hearts of those who had dealt with him.”

Allan said many of the homeless in Onehunga chose to live on the streets, but he constantly checked on them and encouraged them to seek housing.

Well done Constable Don Allan but this should not happen in New Zealand.

And then just over a week later another homeless person died in Papakura.

From the Herald:

A homeless man has been found dead, huddled under his sleeping bag at the back of a church – the second known such death of a homeless person in two weeks as a polar blast grips the nation.

The man was found on Tuesday morning as Manurewa Methodist Church set up its weekly soup kitchen for the homeless.

Manurewa mum Beverley Losefa, who organises the soup kitchen, thought he was sleeping in. But when they served the first cup of tea and he still hadn’t risen she became worried.

Police were called and confirmed the man had died, before they cordoned off the area.

Losefa was heartbroken to see the man die without his family. She spoke through tears about how lonely and cold he must have been to take his final breath outside the church they call “the corner of hope”.

“I’d never forgive myself if it was someone I knew. I hope no one loses someone this way,” she said.

“We know what it’s like to lose a loved one. We all cried, even the minister did.”

Again well done Beverley Losefa.  But no one should have to deal with this sort of event.  Not in New Zealand.

And in related news Te Puea Marae is gearing up again to look after the homeless.

From Radio New Zealand:

The south Auckland marae that opened its doors to the homeless last year is about to do so again.

Te Puea Marae in Mangere helped 181 people last year, using 1200 volunteers over three months.

Starting on 18 July, it will again take people in – for six months.

Spokesperson Hurimoana Dennis told Morning Report this time they’ve been working hard with government agencies to provide the service.

“We believe we can still … support homeless families. We did it last year – we learnt some things, and we put people into homes.

“It’s an opportunity … to work with agencies, to show agencies what best practice engagement looks like for our Māori families, our communities and those who are homeless.”

Te Puea Marae in Mangere will open its doors to the homeless for the second winter in a row. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Mr Dennis said the marae would be taking a more measured approach than last year, helping 25 people at a time for six to 12 weeks.

Of course the Government is pouring resources into Te Puea Marae.  Last year it was the very public example of how badly the homeless problem was out of control.  Initially Paula Bennett’s office chose to smear him rather than help him.  That a small urban marae had to show the Government how to handle the homeless crisis and was treated in this way was an absolute travesty.

The problem is multifaceted.  Those of us who own houses think that things are great.  We are rich, rich, rich …

Meanwhile teachers and police officers and nurses cannot afford to buy houses in Auckland.

And families are paying huge amounts of money in rent that leaves them with little room for anything else.

And families whose parents have jobs are living in their cars because they cannot afford any better.

And people at the bottom of the pile are dying because in godzone they cannot afford to live in a home or a car.

How is that brighter future looking for you all?

11 comments on “National’s brighter future ”

  1. Belladonna 1

    And in Christchurch where it is freezing, hard to believe the homeless aren’t affected. It is being kept very quiet if so.

  2. Keith 2

    One of the most corrupt things National have done this calendar year is use tax payer money to buy motels to hide the homeless away from questioning eyes, very temporarily, to save their own miserable skins. How much has that cost?.

    Selling state houses, bulldozing a lot more in the name of “redevelopment”, flogging them off to profit oriented businesses, and in short walking away from their obligations has not been a good look, especially when working families end up on the street, not a good look at all. Hence the motel band aid.

    If these arseholes get reelected, expect the motels to quietly be sold off, their temporary residents to be shown the door, and the problem to worsen.

    And be very worried that property speculators are in a holding pattern only, until they see if National win. After that things will only get worse!

  3. Ed 3

    33 years ago New Zealand adopted a toxic economic theory that placed the desires of the individual above the needs of society. It was named Rogernomics.

    Now people die from cold in the streets because providing safe shelter for our citizens is no longer a human right or a priority.

    38 years ago the U.K. adopted a toxic economic theory that placed the desires of the individual above the needs of society. It was named Thatcherism.

    Now people die in fires in tower blocks because providing safe shelter for our citizens is no longer a human right or a priority.

    These tragic events are an inevitable consequence of such a warped philosophy. It has a name neoliberalism and it transcends national borders.

    As Naomi Klein has said, ‘No’ is not enough. We need to offer a positive alternative to neoliberal economics that encourages people to force change on the comfortable elite who have benefited from 35 years of neoliberalism.

    Jeremy Corbyn and the UK Labour Party are doing that.
    We could follow their lead.

    • Ed 3.1

      Last year the actions of Te Puea Marae shamed the government into action. Now they are paying money for motels (ambulance at the bottom of the cliff thinking) to hide the problem rather than spend money dealing with the underlying economic and social issues that cause homelessness. So no money for more state housing, a nationwide living wage, better rental laws….instead money for moteliers.

      One thing we could do on this site is collate all stories we find about homelessness to apply pressure.

      The one thing this government does not like is bad publicity and it spends a fortune Making itself look good. The vast majority of New Zealand are appalled by such stories. The problem is that such news is brushed under the carpet so it is not looked at properly.

      • Ed 3.1.1

        Hidden below the headlines of this article about charities helping with homelessness we find this.

        ‘Mark Thomas, a doctor at Auckland Hospital’s infectious disease unit was more blunt about the issue. He said the fundraising event would only raise enough to afford half a house.
        “That’s not going to fix the problem. It needs much more than ordinary small-time people and small time NGOs to fix,” Thomas said.
        About a quarter of homeless people are children.
        Thomas said the Government needed to take stronger action for the cause by providing social housing to combat the homelessness crisis.
        “It’s so distressing that people don’t have a place to sleep at night time. Much bigger organisations than Lifewise need to tackle this problem,” Thomas said.”

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/94428250/More-than-300k-fundraised-for-the-homeless

  4. Jono 4

    yes the National party are currently hiding this issue before ths election. But i don’t think they can hide it very well. When i am around Wellington during the day you can see the homeless everywhere. It is obvious its just the MSM just are not focusing on it or say it is the individuals problem. No I think this will come to a head soon. The business community already say they want to ban the beggars which is the same as banning homeless really. Its becoming class warfare coming from the elites…

  5. JustMe 5

    When people are homeless and lack any money then we all know perfectly well they are the very people this government just doesn’t have any interest in.
    If people had money, especially enough to donate to the political party of the government of the day(16.7.17)and were wealthy enough to afford to buy property galore then those are the people this government will court.
    Time and again we have seen money exchange hands for what I now call Instant Kiwi citizenship. It’s a scenario that shame NZ and New Zealanders. But it’s now part of NZ that we have had to get used to over the past almost 9 years that there has been a National government.
    To date and I am sure during this winter period we will be hearing of other homeless people dying in the streets. But does this government give a stuff about the homeless???!!!! So far the answer is so clearly NO. Right now there is a truant National MP who is paid $3000 per week for his non-appearance in parliament because he was caught out as a workplace bully.
    There is now a current serving pm(I am deliberately using lower case here)of NZ who had no hesitation let alone remorse for double dipping at NZ taxpayers expense on accommodation costs.
    This very person also once told NZers that we are living beyond our means and MUST experience financial cost cutting whilst at the VERY SAME TIME he was DOUBLE DIPPING!
    And so from now on for each homeless person that dies in the streets of NZ must rest firmly on the shoulders of the very government that through pure arrogance has deliberately lost touch with reality.
    I hold off saying that the National Coalition government has a conscience because quite obvious to all who notice they do not possess a conscience.

  6. Sabine 6

    i got some wood delivered today.
    i got soup on the stove and a roast in the oven.

    and this is the least that any family should have on a day like today, warmth, a bit of comfort food and safety.

    sadly, sadly for many it is not so, and sadly yes, people will day.

    so really go out, make sure people are registered to vote, make sure then that people will vote. cause one thing is for sure the Nationalistas will vote. for people dying in the cold, for people sleeping in cars, for people trying to make it while hungry, homeless and out of luck.

    Vote. Take a handful of people to vote when you go. Make it a party, a celebration, a family affair, a community gathering with food and laughter.
    Vote.

  7. adam 7

    Keith drank to deal with pain. He had a medical condition, and used alcohol as a pain killer. Not the best decision, but the system is not there for people at the edges anymore.

    So when you are broke, unwell and suffering. Alcohol is a way to stop the suffering, and forget about the pain – if only for a while.

  8. greg 8

    i see homeless every where i go national can not hide an epidemic the homeless are right across this city the brighter future was only for property speculators everyone else is picking up the bill.

  9. Daveosaurus 9

    Murder by capitalism.

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