Report confirms poverty in the Waikato
Foodbanks are grappling to keep up with demand, and more people now have to choose between paying for basics such as power, rent, or food out of their weekly income. People are reported as having to cutback in many areas, and sometimes its food. Some groups in the Waikato are more vulnerable to hard times than others according to the Window on Waikato Poverty report issued by Poverty Action Waikato.
“Median incomes for Waikato Māori and Pacifica peoples have decreased over the last three years, while median incomes for Waikato Pākehā have barely keep pace with rising costs. The financial pressure that people face is taking its toll on our communities.” says Dr Rose Black, researcher for Poverty Action Waikato.
The Window on Waikato poverty report confirms what local Social service agencies are experiencing in their day to day realities of attempting to meet the social and economic needs of an increasing pool of desperate people. Further, it appears that young people may be bearing the brunt of the hard times.
If you are young and in the Waikato you are more likely than older generations to be receiving unemployment benefit. The report clearly shows that despite some gains in educational achievement many young people are leaving school and are not well supported into work, training or further education. There are too many young people falling through the cracks.
The numbers of young people on benefits is only the tip of what is a dire situation for many young people in our communities, according to Adrienne Dalton, Manager of Te Whangai Trust a Hauraki based employment centre. “We are discovering a large number of unemployed youth not registered on the benefit here and in South Auckland. Higher income families are managing to support their unemployed youth. People on lower incomes are really struggling and this is having a huge impact on the support available to young people and their younger siblings” says Dalton.
Poverty Action Waikato is advocating for ways in which young people will be fully valued and engaged members of society through their experiences in education, training and work along with their other social interactions. The collaborative relationships and shared vision developed from the success of the Otorohanga Trade Training Centre will be used by Poverty Action Waikato to promote ways of engaging employment training and education sectors with young people across the Waikato region.
“No single sector has all that is required to ensure our young people have the support they need. Collaboration between sectors along with the provision of pastoral care for all young people in our communities is fundamental to keeping our young people engaged and supported both into work and adulthood” Dr Black said.