This year’s State of the Nation report by The Salvation Army offers a mixed bag of outcomes, with some significant headline progress – but also an ambitious list of “can do better”.
Government action is delivering limited improvements in people’s lives but the degree of change required to deal with entrenched poverty has not yet been reached, said The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit (SPPU) which produced the report.
In its thirteenth year, the report continues to survey a variety of social progress indicators to offer a detailed report card of how New Zealand is doing in terms of jobs, housing, crime, addiction and gambling, and the wellbeing of ourtamariki.
The government can take heart: some level of progress is seen across most indicators. Unemployment is low and household incomes have increased. Child poverty is somewhat reduced and other youth indicators like unemployment, education, and pregnancies are also on a downward trend.
“But sadly, poverty at the most disadvantaged levels of our community remains stubborn and other factors linked to poverty like high social housing demand, crime, and children at risk of harm still exist,” notes Lt. Colonel Ian Hutson, SPPU director.
“Also, we see levels of family violence, drug and alcohol use, and problem gambling at persistently high levels,” he added.
RonjiTanielu, one of the authors of the report, said, “In this election year, we have chosen the theme ‘huiatangatakotahi’ [bringing everyone together]. We are trying to make the point that we should all be working together as New Zealanders to achieve better outcomes for everybody. This report must inform, raise awareness, and lead to effective social action and change, particularly in this election year.”
The report will be launched in Wellington today (12 February) with regional launches planned for the rest of the week. Details can be found on The Salvation Army’s website at https://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/SOTN2020.