Iwi leader challenges Collins to visit impoverished communities

By Semi Holland

Iwi leader Rahui Papa and a South Auckland Whānau Ora provider are challenging National MP Judith Collins to visit impoverished communities following her comments blaming parents for child poverty.

MUMA Whanau Ora Provider Veronica Henare is at the front-line when it comes to families in need.

“I would challenge Minister Collins to come down here and see it for what it really sees the whānau and the people that we talk to and we see every day.”

Kingitanga Spokesperson Rahui papa says, “The Minister needs to get off her pedestal and come into the communities that are struggling and see the hardships for herself.”

Henare says they offer a range of services to around 200 clients and 800 family members including budgeting advice and housing assistance.

“I would challenge the Minister that sits on almost 300,000 a year to come out and see people living on 20-30 thousand dollars and have children trying to feed them trying to pay the exorbitant rents here in South Auckland.”

Papa says, “It's easy for the minister to sit in Parliament and throw stones about these issues, but she needs to come into the communities to observe and see these issues to broaden her understanding.”

Minister Collins made the comments while answering questions from delegates at the annual meeting of the Police Association in Wellington.

“I see a poverty of ideas, a poverty of parental responsibility, a poverty of love, a poverty of caring, its people who don't look after their children that's the problem.”

Henare says, “I've heard it bandied around 200,000 children in poverty and to me although it’s startling, its reality and we see it on a daily occurrence and it’s sad and it’s even worse when a minister who is so far removed from where it is at can make these outlandish comments.”

Te Kāea contacted the Minister for comment but she was unavailable.

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