Salvation Army – State of the Nation

Written By: - Date published: 9:42 am, February 11th, 2015 - 18 comments
Categories: accountability, child abuse, child welfare, class war, crime, health, housing, poverty, Social issues - Tags: , , ,

This morning the Salvation Army released their state of the nation report – A Mountain All Can Climb. From the excellent coverage on Stuff, here’s the bottom line:


Child poverty – C-
Children at risk – C+
Children and violence – D
Educational achievement – C-
Infant mortality – C
Teenage pregnancy – A

Overall crime – C+
Serious crime – C-
Sentencing and imprisonment – C+
Recidivism – B-

Employment and unemployment – B
Wages and incomes – C
Benefits & pensions – C+
Living costs & food poverty – C+

Alcohol – B-
Drug Crime – C+
Gambling – C+

Housing availability – D
Housing affordability – C-
Housing related debt – C-

Does that look like the report card of a “brighter future”? Further from the above piece:

Progress in dealing with child poverty and serious crime have been given a fail mark by the Salvation Army, which has lashed the Government for a “woefully inadequate” response to Auckland’s housing crisis.

While some problems, including teenage pregnancy, prisoner recidivism and living costs received an improved rating on the previous year, housing availability and violence towards children got fail marks. Rates of reported child abuse dropped, but the number of recorded violent assaults rose 3.5 per cent to a record 5397 offences.

In other coverage, 3 News:

The Salvation Army has given a big thumbs down to the Government’s affordable housing and family violence initiatives in its annual report, out today.

This year’s State of the Nation report has given the Government a D score for a lack of affordable housing in Auckland and Christchurch, which it says is having an impact on the health and wellbeing of children and their families. Report author and social policy analyst Alan Johnson says, in spite of Prime Minister John Key’s denials, there is a housing crisis in Auckland. “We have people knocking on our door every day…literally with nowhere to stay.


The report says increasing house prices in Auckland pose a real threat to the region’s prosperity and even perhaps to New Zealand’s financial stability.

In terms of availability, it says housing being built in both Auckland and Christchurch is not affordable for those at the lower end of the markets, and that is leading to overcrowding and declining health. Major Campbell Roberts, a principal advisor for the Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, said the Government was taking action but not enough.

While the report acknowledges the difficulty in measuring child poverty, it has used the rate of children in benefit-dependent households to define it, which is down from 19 percent to 17 percent.

For the first time in a decade, the number of reported and substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect fell, although there were still 19,623 cases in the year ending 30 June 2014. There was a rise in criminal violence against children, by 3.5 percent to a record 5397.

And The Herald:

Salvation Army: Auckland’s worsening housing crisis putting incredible stress on families

The Salvation Army said this morning that the housing crisis in Auckland was adding “incredible stress” to the day-to-day lives of many families.

The charity’s annual State of the Nation report shows the housing shortage in the city worsened by a record near-4000 houses last year, as a pickup in home-building was “swamped” by a tide of new immigrants.

“There’s incredible stress for people in terms of housing, the impact on their rents, the impact on their ability to feel like they are providing for their families, the constant stress of shifting. Some of our families shift six times in a year or don’t know where they are living day-to-day. That adds incredible stress.”

The Salvation army said, overall, the report was a “good news bad news story”.

For one report that tries to “accentuate the positive”, see another piece in The Herald – State of the nation: Life getting better on most indicators.

Good work from the Salvation Army. It’s also important to note that, while the government are depending on them (and other charities) to be major providers of “social housing”, the SA have raised significant concerns about the plan. We need a real solution to the housing crisis, and we won’t get it from the Nats.

18 comments on “Salvation Army – State of the Nation”

  1. SaveNZ 1

    I love the way the herald is still trying to spin the Salvation Army report as positive.

    They even do their usual, oh if only we could release more land for housing everything would be ok….

    Sure it will for those developers and land owners as National sells off our land to it’s mates for sections costing $400k retail…Before the house….And the infrastructure is $100k. Hmm the private sector is really making affordable housing…NOT!

  2. millsy 2

    According to the Herald everything is just peachy — Though try telling that to the family that has $80 per week after paying their rent. A tight fiscal straight jacket if there was one.

    The best measure of poverty is how many households pay 66% or more of their income in rent/housing costs. I submitted an OIA request with regards to that to MSD/WINZ, but they advised that they couldn’t get that information without going through thousands of files, and that it was not part of standard reporting. I would have thought a simple database query would have gotten that data, but oh no….

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Sounds like a ‘back room’ sort of thing to me. Efficiency is the watchword!

      • Rob 2.1.1

        Millsy, how would the Govt know (or anyone else for that matter outside my Bank) how much I pay for my mortgage? That is very private and personal information.

        • Tracey

          If you are a beneficiary they would know… and have probably leaked it already 😉

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          If you applied for an accommodation supplement you’d be required to provide the info.

        • framu

          1) Housing costs can be rent or mortgage
          2) data such as sale prices is gathered and available (thats how the property valuer can tell you what sold for how much in your area) – from that i guess they apply some sort of formula
          3) not sure on this one – but maybe the banks provide generalised data to the govt re: repayments?

          cmon rob – think about it. How does govt gather any data that could have personal info within it? (wages, savings etc etc)

        • millsy

          If you qualify for Accomodation Supplement/WFF then that information would be held by the government.

  3. Ad 3

    Salvation Army’s timing, and media hit, are astonishing right against the Prime Minister’s speech to Parliament.

    Opposition parties should take note of this tactic, and of how the Sallies’ report sets up a long range series of accountability measures, to which National will be held account again and again. Media love to be able to track in series.

    • Tracey 3.1

      Last year he said their author needed to see the places or NZ he sees… as a criticism…

      That would be Kauri Cliffs, Koru Lounge, Parnell, Hawaii…

  4. Only one thing wrong with the report.
    It’s a Fail.
    Like all the F grades that should have been awarded on all of these ‘indicators’.
    What they indicate is the bankruptcy of such ‘indicators’.
    The source of all of these statistics is the increasingly corrupted bureaucracy.
    Who believes statistics on crime and benefit numbers when the bureaucracy is now required to meet Cabinet targets or have senior management replaced by cronies?
    To give credibility to these statistics is to cover-up systemic failure.
    Its like giving an A to a balanced budget arrived at by tax cuts for the rich and even bigger cuts in social spending, or and A for GDP growth based on carbon burning in the production of waste.
    The NACTs are a Fail, and the social accountants at the Salvation Army are a Fail.

  5. music4menz 5

    I wonder whether there are others like me who have been ambivalent about the Salvation Army and their concern and commitment to social equity issues ever since members of the Salvation Army played such a large part in promoting and collecting signatures for the largest petition ever presented to Parliament – against the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

    I know that there are plenty of people who made the decision back then- and have stuck to their guns- never to donate to the Sallies as a consequence. I view any of their comments and analyses of social issues with cynicism.

    • framu 5.1

      fair enough – how about national party comments?

    • Murray Rawshark 5.2

      Campbell Roberts has been good on housing and poverty as far back as I can remember. I wouldn’t donate to them, but I also don’t write off what they say. Except on “moral” issues.

    • Tracey 5.3

      and yet you remain excited about the liars and deceivers making up the current government…

      but you really need to protest the government wanting them to take over state houses then…Labour has a pettition circulating, will you sign?

  6. SaveNZ 6

    They can’t wait to create slums in other parts of the country. Now they have undemocratically (like SkyCity) taken over…

    Major changes to development rules in central Christchurch favour investors and could create slums, critics say.

    Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has signalled her disappointment with the Government’s new rules, but said the council could not undo them.

    The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) has made sweeping changes to the city’s district plan – which affect residential development in central Christchurch – in the face of harsh criticism. More than 90 per cent of public respondents opposed some measures.

    Welcome to NZ and the slums that the tax and ratepayers will have to clean up, like leaky building, after the government ‘relaxes standards’. They just don’t learn!

    Loads of people/companies tried to help them after the earthquake with among other things software with urban planning to help rebuild Chch quickly and in an integrated way. Nope. Government did nothing, put in their cronies like Sutton and now under pressure are just letting the developers do what ever they like….

    • Tracey 6.1

      Stage one is clearing all poor or low income from the nice suburbs like Orakei etc so the wealthy don’t ever have to see them and can be comfortable in their while middle class view of Planet Key

  7. Today’s Emmerson cartoon captures the report perfectly

    KEY: The curse of the poor and their wretched state housing problem is an albatross around the neck of my rockstar economy

    SALLIE ARMY VOLUNTEER: Oh you poor dear…

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