Hundreds braved wind and rain over the weekend to #ParkUp in Wellington and Otara in a show solidarity with those sleeping in their cars.
And hundreds more are expected to #ParkUpForHomes in Onehunga this coming Saturday. This movement of peaceful protests all share a common goal of seeing an increased Government response to the growing housing crisis and measures to create a better safety net for the most vulnerable who are being squeezed out of housing all together into cars, garages and caravan parks.
Kiwi boxing legend David Tua and his wife Helen are organisers of the Onehunga protest, along with Maungakiekie Tamaki Local Board member Josephine Bartley.
Tua says his hope for this Saturday is that protestors can send a clear message to Government that it’s time to “deliver a knockout” to our housing crisis and undertake meaningful measures to help the homeless.
“It’s every Kiwis’ problem. That’s why I’m doing it. We are all people and are connected to each other,” says Tua.
“We live in Aotearoa, the best country in the world. It’s ridiculous that we have people living in cars. We can do better.”
A number of MPs attended #ParkUpOtara and #ParkUpParliament, including Su’a William Sio, Jenny Salesa, Metiria Turei and Grant Robertson. The organisers are hoping Government ministers will sleep in their cars at upcoming events to gain a better understanding of the reality for many New Zealanders.
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) are supporting the #ParkUpForHomes campaign and have outlined a number of policy measures they believe will turn this crisis around.
CPAG Housing spokesperson Alan Johnson says it is encouraging to know so many Kiwis do care and he hopes the Government does too.
“This growing problem of street and carpark homelessness will not disappear by simply rezoning paddocks as Nick Smith would have us believe.
“As an urgent priority we simply need to go out and build more state houses. Instead of squeezing dividends out of Housing New Zealand, the Government should be throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into Housing New Zealand so that it can build more state houses on land it already owns.”
The #ParkUp Onehunga location is yet to be announced so keep an eye on the Facebook event page further details or to RSVP. A #Parkupforhomes protest will also be taking place in West Auckland on July 8.
Visit the #Parkupforhomes Facebook page to find out about more events in your area, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.