Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

Communities call for action

By Regan Paranihi

People from small-town communities in Aotearoa have called on the Prime Minister to help deal with the impact of drugs, housing crisis, lack of mental health services and financial support.

These were the key issues people from the Kaitaia, Whangarei, Manurewa, New Plymouth, Hornby and Timaru communities addressed when they were asked what they would say if they had an opportunity to speak to the Prime Minister.

Street interviews were carried out for the Salvation Army’s second annual State of Our Communities report that launched today. The Report tells the story of life in these communities through the words of the people who live there.

Report author Ronji Tanielu says without local and national government assistance these communities will continue to decline and become more socially and economically at risk.

"What we hear from this report is loud and clear-to be strong communities requires more housing, a stronger effort to rid neighborhoods of drug abuse and a more consultative approach when Government provides developments, housing, infrastructure, and services so meeting the broad needs of the community."

Tanielu says these communities are committed to changing the stereotypical view the media continue to paint for New Zealanders by addressing social problems they face.

"We found people who spoke in a raw, real way about critical issues facing their communities. People were proud of their location, size, natural environment, and multiculturalism. These are communities that are taking responsibility for acting to change the social problems they face.

The report's findings will be shared with the Government and The Salvation Army will continue to work cooperatively to help the Government understand how it can better identify and deliver assistance to these communities.