The cross-party inquiry into homelessness is under way

Written By: - Date published: 1:04 pm, August 22nd, 2016 - 48 comments
Categories: greens, housing, labour, leadership, maori party - Tags: , ,

Early this year National blocked a proposal for an official inquiry into homelessness.

…Little said the decision was disappointing, as there needed to be a “cross-party consensus” on the issue. “No New Zealander feels good about children sleeping rough and families living in their cars…this is such an important issue that politics should be put aside and parties should work together to find solutions.” Little claimed that National MPs on the select committee supported an inquiry but “appeared to have been slapped down” by Key. …

Labour, The Greens and the Maori Party decided to go ahead with their own cross-party inquiry, which kicked off today:

Cross-party inquiry into homelessness kicks off

A cross-party inquiry into homelessness kicks off on Monday, with the first hearing being held at Te Puea Marae.

The perfect venue.

After the Government blocked their attempt to open an official investigation, the Green party, Labour and the Maori Party decided to go it alone.

Green housing spokeswoman Marama Davidson says they are ready to hear the cold, hard truth. “We want to give people a chance to talk to us face to face and tell us directly what is happening so that we can hear their solutions,” she says.

The group will also be heading to Tauranga, Wellington, Kaitaia and Christchurch to hear submissions.

Ms Davidson says it’s “abhorrent” the inquiry is not backed by the Government. “New Zealanders know that it’s wrong to have people sleeping in cars, squashing in garages, crowding in homes. Our Government should have been leading and wanting to end this, but they can’t even admit that there is a crisis.” …

The Inquiry has its work cut out for it:

Social agencies helping Kiwi homeless ‘at crossroads’, cross-party inquiry to hear

Social agencies helping New Zealand’s growing homeless population are “at a crossroads” when it comes to tackling the problem, a cross-party inquiry into the issue will hear.

In a joint written submission to the inquiry, Community Housing Aotearoa and He Kainga Oranga, Otago University’s housing and health research programme, said the Government needed to fund and provide more emergency housing.

“We are at a crossroads – only recently has an additional $41 million of funding for emergency become available from the Government [announced in May]. “While that has been well received from both people facing homelessness and from emergency housing providers, we need to look longer term and build a sustainable approach that brings everyone on board.”

The organisations said a “housing first” approach, where people were given a place to live before their other issues were addressed, was the best way to tackle homelessness in New Zealand.

Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said the idea of an official inquiry had been “kicking around” at the social services committee for more than a year, before the attempt to launch it was blocked by National.

While homelessness had been an issue in New Zealand for some time, the “deepening” housing crisis meant many unlikely people, such as those in work and families, were now being affected. “There is this almost universal public disquiet to see families living in cars and government agencies referring people to slum landlords…people I think are profoundly disturbed by that.”

Twyford said around 450 submissions had been received from a range of people and organisations, including “deeply moving” letters from those who were homeless or had been in the past. …

The Inquiry will no doubt come up with useful recommendations. But to see them implemented we will need to change the government.

48 comments on “The cross-party inquiry into homelessness is under way”

  1. adam 1

    Good to see the next government in action.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Except NZFirst aren’t there, and there’s a reasonable chance depending on how the vote falls, that the Greens won’t be in government.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        NZ First could have been there but choose not to. Same as with the National Party.
        Winston Peters needs to decide if he wants to keep his voters in the dark until after the election or if he actually wants to do something to help this country.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Well he did spend all those elections going on about how wrong it is to tell voters his intentions before an election 😉

        • weka 1.1.1.2

          “NZ First could have been there but choose not to.”

          Ae, and the setting up of the inquiry and Peters’ refusal to join comes after the Labour/Green MOU. I’m betting there are politics at work here.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.3

          If you like NZFirst’s policies, then vote for them, and they can hopefully form a government.

          If you like NZFirst’s policies, but want a Labour-led or National-led government, then vote for those parties instead of NZFirst.

          Winston’s refusal to state who he will work with is a little annoying, but if you follow the above guide, then you shouldn’t have a problem.

          It doesn’t help for people who want a Labour-led government if and only if NZFirst are also part of it – such people should probably vote for National instead. Swap it around for Labour. I would expect such people to be a pretty small minority though.

          • Sabine 1.1.1.3.1

            Homelessness is an issue that should be above Party and Voting.
            This is an issue that is costing the country millions every year in taxpayers funds that could other wise be spend better.
            So yeah, Winston should have come and he should have listened to what the people have to say and he could have turned this into something good.

      • G C 1.1.2

        Peters has stated he doesn’t need an inquiry to tell him what he already knows, this is reasonable in some ways.

        Unlike National who won’t admit there are real problems. I have to hand it to Peters … after Paula said she was at the ‘coal face’ of poverty everyday, Peters pointed out that the local dali didn’t count.

        Is it just me or are the National MPs getting much fatter. At this rate of growth both Gerry and Bennet won’t make it to the 2017 elections.

        What we could ask ourselves is who will National sacrifice as the fatted calf coming into the 2017 general?

      • G C 1.1.3

        Peters has stated he doesn’t need an inquiry to tell him what he already knows, this is reasonable in some ways.

        Unlike National who won’t admit there are real problems. I have to hand it to Peters … after Paula said she was at the ‘coal face’ of poverty everyday, Peters pointed out that the local dali didn’t count.

        Is it just me or are the National MPs getting much fatter. At this rate of growth both Gerry and Bennet won’t make it to the 2017 elections.

        What we could ask ourselves is who will National sacrifice as the fatted calf coming into the 2017 general?

  2. Ad 2

    Excellent political work.

    No media downside, and every speaker humiliates National.

    Hopefully they do a roadshow-repeat of the findings this time next year, for the election.

    • Sabine 2.1

      the next winter is going to be even worse.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        This last winter was pretty damn mild, in Christchurch anyway.

        • Sabine 2.1.1.1

          well then why don’t you go with a little pack tonight and see if you can rough it?

          You will see how mild – 2 degrees or even +2 are. And also don’t forget your toilet paper. Cause you know Nature calls and if you can’t wipe yourself off after three days you start to stink. And food. Mind you know if you don’t eat for a few days that should beat any diet. 🙂

          I am eager to hear your stories about how ‘mild’ it was.

  3. Macro 3

    Winston reckons he knows why people are homeless. So is not joining the inquiry.

    Mr Peters says National’s reduction in the number of state houses and the loss of effective support such as state-assisted mortgages for people to buy their first homes has had disastrous long term effects.

    “We know why people are homeless. It is because there are not enough homes for them to live in at affordable rates. You will always get the odd drop out. We had that in the halcyon days of the New Zealand economy. But I am talking about thousands of people now, and we don’t need some sickly white liberal inquiry into homelessness,” he says.

    Mr Peters says the lack of housing will create long term health, education and social problems, especially for Maori and Pacific Island communities.

    Even so very disappointing that he has not considered it important enough to show some support for this initiative. The main purpose of which is surely to bring pressure on Nact to respond to the problem.

    • weka 3.1

      I would have thought the other purpose was to listen to what actual homeless people had to say, because that’s where the answers lie.

      But hey, that’s just a sickly white liberal thing, why bother with that when you can stick a know-it-all authoritarian with a dog in the manger complex on the tele.

    • Sabine 3.2

      I can guarantee you that Winston Peters and any and all of the blokes of the National Party do not have an iota of an idea what it means to be

      a. homeless on a rainy night at about 4 pm with no shelter anywhere
      b. homeless at 16 years old not being able to relate to peers cause homeless and as such also lifeless.
      c. homeless while female having her menstruation, toilet paper shoved in the undies hoping to not start leaking before she finds the next public toilet
      d. homeless irrespective of gender and trying to find a hidey hole to slip in so as to prevent assault and sexual assault
      e. homeless without food for a few days

      so yeah, Winston and the others could have come and listen to what homeless actually means.

      But i guess some are just too good to actually listen to what people have to say, cause they know it all and they have heard it hundreds of times and they still refuse to listen and act.

  4. Leftie 4

    Phil Twyford has said there is still quite a lot of heat in the debate with the Maori party, because the Maori Party have voted for in parliament the legislation that enables that National party’s state house sell off.

  5. Richardrawshark 5

    Just LOL.

    Pathetic. With all that’s going on this is the best they can do. This is a prime example, in fact one of superlatives, that encompasses everything the actual common voters HATE about Labour and Greens, The incessant need to have expensive dialog on obvious issues that we all know what needs doing to fix them.

    This is a joke and a big thumbs down from me.

    and before you round on me about homelessness, I certainly wish for a better NZ, and National gone, Winston’s right.

    Bunch of lazy Mp’s living off the taxpayer in comfort trying their didly umptious to look like they give a hoot. If it wasn’t in the media not a single one of them would even be raising the subject.

    • weka 5.1

      You think the voices of homeless people aren’t necessary at this time?

    • Garibaldi 5.2

      Winston can certainly be relied on for a great turn of phrase and is a master of retorts to the media. However, don’t forget his roots – he is Muldoon reincarnate! I hope like hell he founders in the election because of his track record but because of his populism he will do OK. If he gets in with more than three or four MPs it will be another debacle like the last time. He’s a one-man act and his health is ailing. Time he retired gracefully ( like many in the Labour caucus). If Winston is replaced by Ron Marks there’ll be no siding with the left.

  6. Siobhan 6

    Hopefully this extends to people under Housing Stress…for every homeless person there must be hundreds/thousands(who knows) of people just keeping off the street one pay packet at a time.

    This is the problem when a society starts to collapse, suddenly a previously extreme situation (homelessness) becomes the focus, making the hoplessness and shittyness of so many lives seem acceptable, because ‘at least you aren’t homeless’.

    • Sabine 6.1

      it is primarily an inquiry into homelessness, but in saying that before one is homeless one is under Housing Stress. That stress can be not enough funds to pay for a rental, domestic violence, sexual abuse at home, substance issues, lack of mental health care etc etc etc.
      So the call for submission was a broad call to people to contact the parties with their stories of homelessness, or their ideas on how to combat it. And i bet you a dollar to your dime that the sale of the state houses, the cut in mental health care, the lack of resources for those in need of treatment from substance abuse, the lack of shelters for women/men/children suffering form domestic abuse were mentioned more then once.

      homelessness is the last step, and believe me when i say that some hopeless and shitty situations are some what preferable on a cold night when the only option for a safe place is survival sex with some really disgusting geezer who would other wise not get laid. And that is the reality for many of our very young homeless people be they male or female.

    • Chris 6.2

      Hope they also talk about the tens of thousands of dollars of debt beneficiaries have been lumbered with by qualifying for help from Work and Income for emergency housing. Really does beggar belief.

      • Sabine 6.2.1

        People including me have been emailing the Labour Party and demanded the debts to be waived on FB for Phil Twyford.

        I have put the links for contact to the commission below and can only hope that would email the group asking them to waive the debts created by the policy created of Paula Bennett.

        If there are many many of us something may happens.

        • Siobhan 6.2.1.1

          Waiving Homeless debt, bringing back nightclasses.
          Two very simple and affordable policies, that have no down sides and many social benefits.
          And they don’t mess with peoples house values so Labour wouldn’t lose any votes..

          They would send a very positive Labour message.

          So why aren’t they already on the table??

          • Sabine 6.2.1.1.1

            So why don’t you ask the Labour Party?
            I have posted below the dates the commission meets elsewhere in the country, i have posted the link for submission and the direct email for easy convenience.

          • Chris 6.2.1.1.2

            Yes, that’d be a great start for Labour in so many ways but their track record suggests that this mightn’t be part of Labour’s plan for benefits and beneficiaries. While Labour can talk the wonderful broad brush stuff that’s aimed at appeasing its die-hard devoid of critical faculty support base, they’re completely bereft of detail hence the pretty strong suggestion that regardless of the result in 2017 we’ll be seeing more of a Clarkesque approach to welfare in the future, which of course is in many ways indistinguishable from what we’re getting from the current government.

            Another reason might be that Labour’s a tad embarrassed given that it was them that got rid of the special benefit which had the effect of preventing the cost of emergency accommodation from being met with a lump sum special benefit. Another thing, too, is that Labour supported the nats legislation that removed the discretion that gave Work and Income the ability not to recover debt so they might see it as a bit rich for them to be calling for the debts not to be recovered. Stupid bastards.

            • Sabine 6.2.1.1.2.1

              so have you send them an email or are you just telling me they are not doing enough and cause of that you are doing nothing?

              have you emailed them? shown up at any of their meetings? Nope? Well then i hope you do.

              • Chris

                There’s only been one meeting so far and yes, I have made a submission. What’s eating you? I was responding to Siobhan with reasons why I think Labour hasn’t nailed its position to the mast on this. You’re not another one of these Labour-can-do-no-wrongers, are you?

                • Sabine

                  no i am just tired of these Labour-can-only-do-wrongers? You are not one of these are you?

                  • Leftie

                    It’s all Chris ever posts about.

                    • Chris

                      Because Labour-can-only-do-no-wrongers represent everything that’s wrong with the left in NZ today and are responsible for the extent of the damage that the current government has exerted on the poorest of NZ’s poor and for that reason alone must be eradicated. So don’t expect anything to change soon, you little weasel.

                    • Leftie

                      Thanks for proving my point.

                    • Chris

                      It’s probably the only point you’ve made that resembles a skerrick of a modicum of truth. I think I’ve commented on other things from time to time, perhaps as recently as today, but yes, dealing to Labour-can-only-do-no-wrongers like you is a very important role, so expect more of it, you destructive little Labour toadie.

                  • Chris

                    Are you and Leftie the same person? Fuck, being on here’s like that tv show The Walking Dead. They just keep coming.

                    • Leftie

                      We are not the same person, so don’t be so stupid Chris. Nats like you are so sensitive and paranoid.

                    • Chris

                      Yes, a lot of people have described me as sensitive.

                      Despite that, and as always, I’ll leave you with this:

                      Hey, hey!

        • Chris 6.2.1.2

          That’s good. There was a spokesperson for the Auckland Action Against Poverty on RNZ a couple of months ago who said they’re taking those large debts through the appeal process as well. Tolley and Bennett et al need to be attacked on all fronts over this.

  7. By-passing/ignoring/sidelining National as if they are of no consequence, as if their opinion is of no importance or interest?
    Priceless.
    This is the way it’s done.

    • Siobhan 7.1

      “Early this year National blocked a proposal for an official inquiry into homelessness.”

      How can they be included?? Dragged by their little ears to the inquiry?? An inquiry into an issue John Key thinks is just ‘something that’s been around for a very long time”.

      Though I think Mr Key would be a great guest, he could give an impassioned speech about how he benefited from State Housing.

  8. Sabine 8

    These meetings are going to be held in Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Kaitaia and people can join to participate if they care so

    the schedule is under this link

    http://www.homelessnessinquiry.co.nz/meetings

    if people think that more meetings are to be held or still would like to contact the commsission feel free to do this here

    http://www.homelessnessinquiry.co.nz/submission

    or email directly homelessnessinquiry@parliament.govt.nz

  9. b waghorn 9

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11698404

    I put this in om but it fits here. It would be far better for the council to work with the people that have converted garages to get them up to grade cheaply than to kick people out on the street to make a point.

    • Sabine 9.1

      actually the councils should protect its state houses that are empty, boarded up sitting there waiting to be sold to some National Party stooge / developper. When these empty houses are full we can talk about converting garages build on concrete with no insulation, plumbing and the likes to be converted into housing.

  10. smilin 11

    If we want change get national out no compromise Winston Greens and Maori
    The opposition needs to face facts to get the majority of worth they are going to have to declare their desire to work together for the common good of NZ
    They all need to realise that the country needs massive change to progress out of the insane stituation national has created
    We dont have a democracy if national can do what they have done on housing and get away with it
    It is an arrogant crime

  11. Dave 12

    This is one of classic signs of bad management blame everyone but yourself this shows the key government is on the ropes .problems are building if this blame game fail key will move to the shoot through before the collapse to escape the blame

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