NZ warned of danger when country is tolerant of poverty

A study by the Human Rights Commission into the working poor shows there are 50,000 working households living in poverty in New Zealand

RNZ reports that Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo claims the report is the most detailed research ever done on the working poor in this country.

She said that as a country it is dangerous when we develop a tolerance for poverty.

“The thing I worry about … is that we look at the numbers and we think ‘ah, poverty is not a new thing’, and I think it becomes dangerous when we develop a tolerance for poverty.

“We have these human rights conventions that we’ve signed up to as a country. We have sustainable development goals which talk about ending poverty and decent work for all – but it’s just not the reality for many of our families.”

The study shows that on average 12 percent of single-parent families fall below the in-work poverty threshold compared with the national average of 7 percent.

Sumeo says it would be very helpful for policymakers to try and lift families out of poverty.

Max Rashbrooke, senior associate at Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, notes that with companies paying 10% less of their profits than they did decades ago the mismatch between growth in the overall economy and wage rises have left workers on average $11,500 worse off per year.

Free laundry and shower service

The report comes as Orange Sky is looking for volunteers to help grow its free laundry and shower service across New Zealand.

The not-for-profit organisation provides a free mobile laundry and shower service in a non-judgemental environment for some of the 41,000 people experiencing homelessness in New Zealand.

Orange Sky runs custom fitted vans with two washing machines, two dryers and a shower to provide a free laundry and shower service to those currently experiencing homelessness.

It is looking for people who can drive or offer companionship, social support, staff a helpline, educate and train, fundraise or have expertise in safety and emergency.

Orange Sky’s focus is on creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or feel disconnected from the community and current statistics show Orange Sky has offered more than 2,766 hours of conversation, 22,54 washes, 2174 showers. It currently enjoys 65 volunteers.

The call for volunteers comes as new research shows more than 50,000 ‘working households’ are living in poverty in New Zealand.



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News category: New Zealand.

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