may 04 2018. Well that was a BIG load of Horse Manure

The New Zealand government has promised to get the country’s homeless population off the streets and into shelter in time for winter.

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In a joint announcement on Friday, housing minister Phil Twyford and prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced a NZ$100m emergency housing package to tackle the ballooning problem. An estimated 40,000 people live in cars, tents and garages amid a chronic housing shortage in the nation of 4.7 million people.

“We’re pulling out all the stops to support people in need and urgently increase housing supply this winter,” said housing minister Phil Twyford.

With winter starting on 1 June in the southern hemisphere, less than four weeks away, the government has put out an urgent call for anyone with additional accommodation that may be suitable to house homeless people.

Seasonal worker accommodation such as shearers quarters, private rental properties, motor camps and maraes (Maori meeting houses) would all be considered.

New Zealand has the highest rates of homelessness in the OECD, with more than 40,000 people living on the streets, in emergency housing or in substandard conditions. Per capita New Zealand’s homeless population is almost twice as bad as Australia, which is placed third on the list.

More than half of New Zealand’s homeless population live in Auckland but it is also growing in smaller cities such as Rotorua, Tauranga, Queenstown and Wellington.

“We’ve really made a plea today, any marae, any seasonal housing that might be available, please contact us, we’ll work alongside you,” said Ardern in a Facebook live video.

“As soon as we came into government we knew we wouldn’t be able to physically build the houses we’d need by May, when winter was really starting to bite. So we acknowledge this is emergency, this is transitional [housing], but we couldn’t stand by and see people in cars or completely unsuitable housing in the meantime.”

Ardern added that her team have been in touch with front line service providers such as Housing New Zealand and instructed them to be “flexible” and “supportive” to those in need.

“No one should be sleeping in a car this winter,” said Twyword. “Absolutely,” seconded Ardern. “No one”.

Community Housing Aotearoa said it welcomed the government’s push to get homeless people off the streets by winter.

“Once you fix housing you can fix an array of other social issues,” said CEO Scott Figenshow. “At the centre of any strong healthy community is quality and healthy homes.”

 

Interesting Reading

From The BFD

With an election year upon us I thought it appropriate to look at the life experience of Ministers in the current Government. Overall, they don’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

After graduating from Waikato University with a Bachelor of Communications Degree, Ms Ardern became a researcher for Phil Goff and then worked in the office of Helen Clark. In 2005 she went to Britain and worked in the cabinet office of Tony Blair. Come 2007 she was elected President of the International Union of Socialist Youth. (Remember ten comrade mentions in about five minutes). In 2008 she entered our Parliament as a list MP.

So no experience in the outside world. Ardern has spent all her working life in a political bubble. A self-awarded degree in the study of hugging and kissing.

Finance minister Grant Robertson. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Grant Robertson

  • Finance – Minister
  • Sport and Recreation – Minister
  • Earthquake Commission – Minister Responsible
  • Arts, Culture and Heritage – Associate Minister

Robertson studied politics at Otago University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 1995. In 1997 he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade. He was then posted to the United Nations and on his return, like Ardern, worked for Helen Clark. Following this, he took a business development role with the University of Otago. He entered Parliament in 2008.

So no experience in the outside world. With experience in business development, one might wonder why business confidence is so low.

TOM LEE / STUFF Education Minister Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins

  • Education – Minister
  • State Services – Minister
  • Leader of the House
  • Ministerial Services – Minister Responsible

Completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Victoria University majoring in Politics and Criminology. He then worked in the industry training sector. Before becoming an MP he worked at Parliament including, surprise, surprise, in the office of Helen Clark. He entered Parliament in 2008.

No experience of the outside world. With experience in the training sector, it’s a pity he didn’t train his bosses in the teachers’ union to believe in charter schools. Mustn’t upset Mummy.

Andrew Little Minister of Justice

Andrew Little

  • Justice – Minister
  • Courts – Minister
  • GCSB – Minister Responsible
  • NZSIS – Minister Responsible
  • Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations – Minister
  • Pike River Re-entry – Minister Responsible

Little studied at University qualifying as a lawyer and then worked in the union movement until he entered Parliament in 2011.

No experience in the outside world. Well versed in the dark arts of the nasty left.

Health Minister David Clark

David Clark

  • Health – Minister
  • Finance – Associate Minister

Clark ran a University of Otago residential college, worked as a Presbyterian Minister and as a Treasury Analyst.

Again, no experience in the outside world. Might have done well preaching in the pulpit, not so good in Parliament.

(Ex-Minister of Transport ) Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford

Phil Twyford

  • Economic Development – Minister
  • Transport – Minister
  • Urban Development – Minister

Twyford studied politics at Auckland University then worked as a journalist and union organiser before becoming the founding Director of Oxfam NZ. He worked for Oxfam in Washington and returned to New Zealand entering Parliament in 2008.

Unsurprisingly, no experience in the outside world. He should transport himself to someplace else.

Maori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta

Nanaia Mahuta

  • Maori Development – Minister
  • Local Government – Minister
  • Environment – Associate Minister
  • Housing – Associate Minister
  • Trade and Export Growth – Associate Minister

A mother and constituent before entering Parliament.

Obviously no experience of the outside world. About all you can say.

Minister of Police Stuart Nash

Stuart Nash

  • Police – Minister
  • Fisheries – Minister
  • Revenue – Minister
  • Small Business – Minister

Prior to entering politics Nash worked in various senior management roles in small and large businesses in both the public and private sectors. He has worked in IT, sales & marketing, business strategy, resource planning, strategic planning and general management. He has a number of degrees from both Wellington and Canterbury University.

Yes, finally found someone who has some outside world experience. Unfortunately, it hasn’t benefited him as a politician. His sales and marketing expertise was found wanting in the silly gun buyback exercise.

Building & Construction Minister Jenny Salesa

Jenny Salesa

  • Building and Construction – Minister
  • Customs – Minister
  • Ethnic Communities – Minister
  • Education – Associate Minister
  • Health – Associate Minister

Salesa has over twenty years of Public Service experience with the Ministry of Health, Pacific Island Affairs and the Tertiary Education Commission.

Back to no outside world experience. Maybe hammering away but unlikely to nail anything successfully as a result.

Minister of Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi

Kris Faafoi

  • Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media – Minister
  • Commerce and Consumer Affairs – Minister
  • Government Digital Services – Minister
  • Housing – Associate Minister

Faafoi worked as a journalist for TVNZ and the BBC prior to entering Parliament.

Definitely no outside world experience. Despite a career in fake news, he’s been a capable Minister.

To be continued

The problem with Jacinda continued… | John Minto –

Back in early 2017 I wrote a blog called “The problem with Jacinda…” at the time she was the Labour candidate for Mt Albert in the byelection created by the resignation of David Shearer.

If I say so myself it was a prescient piece. Shortly after, in a whirlwind political ascendency she was Labour deputy leader, then Labour leader and then Prime Minister.

Those who so frequently lament the lack of transformation under Ardern should remember this is the person who went to work for Tony Blair in the UK AFTER the invasion of Iraq and went to hear Blair speak when he came to New Zealand some years later. It wasn’t surprising to me that, in her first big policy announcement as the person who said she went into politics to deal with child poverty, she declared Labour would halve child poverty in 10 years.  She is more concerned to assure the obscenely wealthy she will never again propose a capital gains tax than she is to support the most vulnerable. Hugs without hope.

It is irrational and hopelessly naive to expect there will be any transformation under Ardern. Transformation will only come from radical political action outside parliament while the barricades are burning.

I’ll finish with a bit of that piece from January 2016.

The problem with Jacinda

People from across a wide political spectrum like Jacinda Ardern. Unlike most politicians, she comes across as personable and sincere and is often portrayed as the young face of a new generation of Labour politicians – heaven knows they need a new one.

It was Labour after all which left 175,000 children living in poverty in 2008 after nine years of government during a time of strong economic growth.

People are often surprised when I say I am much less impressed with Jacinda.  I’ve heard her speak in public many times and have shared the platform on various panels with her and others (in my case to represent MANA Movement while she represented Labour) to discuss issues such as child poverty, housing, inequality and the struggles of beneficiaries etc

Jacinda is very skilled at empathising with questioners on any of these issues. “Yes, the figures are terrible aren’t they…”; “We can’t let this situation continue….”; “It’s just so awful…”; “As a country we must do better than this…” etc

However, there is never any concrete policy to deal effectively with any of these issues (although in housing Labour has begun to move strongly in the right direction – eg reforming Housing New Zealand as a government department)

To put it bluntly I think Jacinda has perfected the political art of sounding good while saying nothing of substance.

My opinion of her politics took a serious dive in 2011 when in the space of a short time she attended the launch of a book by Paul Henry – yes that Paul Henry – and then attended a presentation by none other than Tony Blair at Eden Park.

I was one of the protest organisers for Blair’s visit and while we had a good crowd outside calling for Blair to be arrested and charged with war crimes, Jacinda Ardern was inside with a bunch of big noters helping give credibility to him and his visit.