Band-aid Budget 2014

The Budget largely fails to address the root causes of poverty, provide more affordable and social housing, or adequately protect our environment says the The Justice and Peace Commission for the Catholic Diocese of Auckland.

The Commission says:

  • The Budget fails to adequately address the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state as discussed by Pope Francis last week in an appeal to leaders of the UN who met in Rome.
  • While some attempt has been made to assist in the care of children the Budget does not creatively engage the community to raise the standards of the poorest New Zealanders.
  • Initiatives to provide financial assistance for first home buyers are largely absent.  For many families the desire to own their own home continues to be unattainable
  • Despite New Zealand’s increasing environmental footprint, the Budget does not address climate change and New Zealand’s increasing rate of carbon emissions.

“It’s great to see an extra $20 million going to combat New Zealand’s high rate of rheumatic fever, a disease clearly associated with poverty,” says Chairperson Shane Coleman.  “That sort of measure and other programmes such as the increased funding for community budgeting services are to be applauded and are definitely a step in the right direction”.

“Catholic agencies at the grass roots such as the Society of St Vincent de Paul and our low decile Catholic schools see the effects of poverty on a daily basis and report to us unprecedented demand for social services,” Mr Coleman says.

“The Central Auckland Office of St Vincent de Paul has reported a 31% increase in demand for food parcels from the same period last year. This illustrates there is still great financial pressure on families and the basic needs of life are not being met.”

“We call on the Government to continue to address the structural causes of poverty, including implementation of the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty.”

“While the Government has taken some action in recent months, the shortage of affordable housing, both privately owned and rental housing, remains a major problem, especially in Auckland.”

The Budget provides only a small increase in social housing against an ever-increasing demand. “There is an urgent need for Government to take a bolder approach and provide a significant increase in funding for social housing providers” says David Zussman, Executive of Monte Cecilia Trust.

The Commission says in this election year it challenges the Government to:

  • Improve environmental sustainability,
  • Work for those who live on the margins
  • Put into place practical programmes to lift the standard of living for the most vulnerable in our communities and neighbourhoods.

Read full press release

Image: Stuff.co.nz

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