Bishops say housing the greatest issue facing New Zealanders


“Too many New Zealanders are facing real difficulties finding affordable, warm, secure housing,” says the Catholic archbishop of Wellington Cardinal John Dew.

He was speaking prior to a housing forum organised by the Anglican and Catholic churches of Wellington.

Approximately 600 people attended the forum in the Anglican Cathedral of St Paul on Wednesday evening.

The assistant Anglican bishop of Wellington, Eleanor Sanderson, and Cardinal Dew opened the evening with reflections on what it means to be at home, and what the nation needs in order for this to be possible. Watch

Dew reminding those present that on a global scale, New Zealand has the worst rate of homelessness in the OECD – according to a Yale University study.

He told those present that they had a responsibility towards the homeless.

“As we prepare for this General Election, let’s ensure that we elect a government which will work to provide housing for all, a government who will provide homes that will cater for all living in this country, and create a setting for a dignified life,” he said.

Bishop Justin Duckworth, the Anglican bishop of Wellington provided a provocative reminder to those in Parliament. Watch

“Our challenge is to make sure that even though it seems like the people next door [in Parliament] don’t seem to care enough to cross the road, we will make sure that they hear our voice.”

“We’re talking about probably the issue that in the polls is the greatest issue facing New Zealanders. For me, this is no longer about housing, it’s just simply about do you care?  Do you actually care?”

Turning to address the politicians, Bishop Justin asked: “can you people do me a favour and can you take a message to the house next door, and say: ‘we care’.”

“We’ve come from all around Wellington because we care. And I want you to know that we cared enough to turn out tonight because we’re gonna vote on this issue.”

Short presentations made by the politicians

  • National Party: Hon Alfred Ngaro watch
  • Conservative Party: Leighton Baker watch,
  • Labour Party housing spokesperson: Phil Twyford watch
  • The Opportunities Party: Jenny Condie from watch
  • United Future: Roger Ellis watch

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei was scheduled to speak but just hours before the forum she had resigned as co-leader of the Greens.

New Zealand First, Act and the Maori Party were not represented.

Other presentations

  • Working with Hutt Valley’s most vulnerable people watch
  • Tenants suffering in dire conditions watch
  • Karen Holland from Soup Kitchen: The voices of the homeless watch


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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