GUEST BLOG: Justin Latif – Winter is coming #Parkupforhomes

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“Winter is coming!” is the rousing catch cry from the Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow and even as we find ourselves amidst one of our colder winters, it’s scary to think that there could be many more even colder winters coming for our most vulnerable – to be lived out in cars, caravan parks and carports.

Last night, I joined with about 750 people at the Mangere Town Centre for one sleepless night in our cars to gain a better understanding of what it’s like for those doing it tough. And it was tough. Not only did the overnight temperatures of 7 degrees cut through my flimsy sleeping bar, but the discomfort of having no lounge, no kitchen, no bathroom struck home. Seeing kids’ faces flushed from the chill, seeing parents desperately trying to insulate windows and doors gave me an extra insight into the dramas faced by Kiwis every night.  It’s no kind of life to prosper from and it’s not the kind of world we want NZers growing up in.

Somewhat surprisingly most of the negative feedback we’ve received has come from the left of center. But many of the questions that have been raised with us are around the effectiveness of peaceful protest and whether there’s any point given this current Government – and those are definitely valid points. Firstly I would say that there are some intangibles that come out of these actions which can’t be measured or predicted. We never would have guessed that so many people and media would turn up and take this event so seriously. We also never would have guessed that so many local organisations with actual resources would mobilise at this event and also begin collaborating to find ways to increase the amount of emergency housing in Mangere. In some ways this protest action has been a catalyst for real and meaningful measures to be discussed and hopefully actioned in the future so less of our community will sleep in their cars next winter.

But what we did hope for was to keep this issue of “hidden homelessness” in the news and show that the so-called “middle NZer” does care. Thankfully we live in a democratic society and that means when large groups of people do things it causes politicians to get antsy and respond. If we shrugged with apathy everytime a hard hitting news item flashed across our Facebook feed our decision makers could continue to act with impunity. But when they see a large mobilization of voters responding as we saw last night they are forced to reconsider and if they don’t they surely must know that winter is coming again in 2017 (which is also election year) and if they don’t do something meaningful now this issue could form a larger narrative about their inability to govern.  

Whilst we haven’t solved social housing in one night what we have done is create a ripple and we earnestly believe such a ripple can roll on to have far more effectiveness than we could ever imagine. And so I’ll end with this quote from a man who knew how ripples can begin to create change but perhaps never got to see by how much.

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“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ― Robert F. Kennedy

Justin Latif organised last nights #Parkupforhomes

10 COMMENTS

  1. It would be better to get every personin a car to tell and persuade 5 others to vote LEFT, Green or Labour under the MOU. Maybe we can reach the Million Voters missing at the last elections and create a more caring society?

    What has the Right (National, ACT, United and Maori Party) ever done to alleviate the housing issue? Heartless and despicable inaction.

    Despicable Key.

  2. Look, the only way to create housing is to party vote ACT at the next election.

    20% business tax will bring competition into the market. 20 % GST will make sure that the GST tax burden falls mainly on wealthier kiwis. 20% personal tax will give kiwis more money to grow the economy.

    Voting ACT will eliminate kiwis living in cars.

    • Voting ACT will eliminate kiwis living in cars.

      You’ll eliminate the people – not the problem?!

      Now what does that remind me off… it’s on the tip of my tongue… something last century… it’ll come to me…

    • Your are such a right-wing tosser See-Less.

      The only way ACT will stop people living in cars is to abolish cars, or make them as expensive as houses. 20% tax B.P&GST is a neo-liberal fallacy, fairyland, heaven, or 72 virgins waiting for suicide bombers.

      See-Less, you are just a little right of Judith Collins, who would probably crush cars with the people inside them (and blame it on beneficiaries themselves as a way of having “good news New Zealand), in the year before election year.

      BTW See-Less, who is actually paying you for this right-wing gobshite you come and vomit your right-wing bile here? ACT? National? United Future or that Maori Party?

      Split the bill probably – four-ways. The four horsemen of the neoliberal apocalypse in NZ.

      “Qur’anic commentator and polymath, al-Suyuti (died 1505), who, echoing a hasan hadith[9] from Ibn Majah,[10] wrote that the perpetual virgins will all “have appetizing vaginas”, and that the “penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal”.[11]” https://wikiislam.net/wiki/72_Virgins

      Don’t you wish you weren’t such a eunuch See-Less?

      How many eternal dicks are there in the coalition (apart from you See-Less)?

  3. Wonderful man you are Justin Latif,

    You possess the qualities of the future generation to take over from those 40 something’s in Government now that have lost their souls, and sold themselves to the devil.

    I was so in awe when we watched the giving of all as you suffered to protest and shame this selfish uncaring Government.

  4. You are totally doing the right thing. Most of the injustice in NZ is hidden. Exposing it with bring change.

    Congratulations on organising and doing something so successful.

    It helps the homeless as well, because they know they are not alone and there are many others with the same problems.

  5. Today in Herald, first on front page at top, now bottom of page,too many negative comments i suppose.John Key announcing that his govt has put millions into giving refugees best possible start by housing them in Mangere centre.
    Fine helping refugees but what about our own people with children living in cars in cold winter conditions,are they getting best possible start?
    This govt only pays lip service to helping anyone to put himself forward for photo op,dont think NZ can be proud of housing refugees while our own are cold and homeless,shame on John Key,millions for strangers not much for the homeless except bribery to get out of town.

  6. Thanks to all those who by participating pushed this appalling situation in to the media spotlight if only for a minute or so.
    You did more than Bennett or her cohorts have done so far much more !!

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