Salvation Army report identify four highly disadvantaged regions in NZ

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Four regions across the country have been identified in a report by the Salvation Army as areas that are highly disadvantaged.

The report looked at four indicators; people, incomes, the well-being of children and the presence of social safety. But the report was dismissed by the Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce.

The Mixed Fortunes report by the Salvation Army reveals areas of New Zealand have been severely neglected and need major investment and resourcing.

Steven Joyce says, “I disagree with the conclusions of the report, some of the material is obviously government material and it does shows what we all know, which is some regions have found it more challenging than others in the Northland, Gisborne, Eastern Bay of Plenty and particularly Whanganui.”

These areas have low educational success, youth unemployment, youth offending and high benefit dependency.

Report Author, Alan Johnson says, “It's not just about being Māori or non-Māori, it's about where you live and we think that's an important issue to bring up on policy issues for New Zealand.”

Steven Joyce says, “Some of the data was definitely accurate, but I'm just saying that the conclusions they draw about intent are just incorrect.”

But according to the author of Mixed Fortunes, Alan Johnson, the Government is only thinking short term goals.

Alan Johnson says, “We have been critical of that, but we are asking the Government to do is not to think about next election or the next couple of years but to think about the next generation and Steven Joyce's perspective is possibly a bit short term for the sorts of issues that we are raising.”

Joyce says, “There are some regions that have bigger, longer standing challenges.”

Ageing population, climate change and inequality are all on the rise according to the report, now it's up to Government to take it on board or not.