Churches tell PM: Housing security essential for healthy communities
For immediate release
Representative church leaders have met with the Prime Minister and Government ministers to ask for more action in the
areas of immigration, housing and social investment. Their views are influenced by the experience of their church
congregations and church based social agencies in most New Zealand communities.
The church leaders told the Prime Minister, “An insufficient supply of safe and affordable housing in New Zealand is
contributing to a level of poverty that is fracturing the well-being of people and communities and hindering the
educational progress of our children.
“Ensuring everyone has access to affordable housing is perhaps the most important means to lifting New Zealanders out of
poverty and boosting the nation’s collective health and prosperity.”
The church leaders thanked Government for providing increased support for homeless people, but asked for more urgent
attention to permanently address people’s long-term housing need.
Because sustainable communities can only occur where there is housing security, the leaders presented a comprehensive
strategy on each aspect of the housing continuum, urging ministers to implement a broader strategy of ownership, rental,
social and emergency housing solutions.
The church leaders also sought input into the development of the pilot community refugee sponsorship model announced
last year. Churches have supported the increased intake of refugees from Syria through actions such as setting up homes
and providing other forms of support, and see room for increased partnership to assist and support refugee families
living in and being brought to New Zealand.
Government’s social investment approach to social policy was discussed. While supporting the idea of social investment,
the church leaders raised questions about the narrowness of this approach.
They felt a more successful social investment approach would identify how to get the right help to the people who needed
it, when they needed it, and when they were motivated for change. Their church leaders’ paper proposed a more
coordinated system to support such an approach.
The church leaders that met with the Prime Minister included: Anglican Archbishop Philip Richardson, Baptist Daniel
Palmer, Catholic Cardinal John Dew, Methodist Rev Prince Devanandan, Presbyterian Rev Richard Dawson, and Salvation Army
Commissioner Andrew Westrupp. Church social policy advisors also attended the meeting.