The Government has spent the largest portion of its infrastructure package entrenching projects greenlighted by the previous Government, instead of prioritising low-income families who are living in infrastructure deprived neighbourhoods and poor-quality public housing. Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the Government to inject more cash into the build of state homes, health clinics in low-income neighbourhoods, as well as making all new and current builds more energy efficient.
“Low income families living in poor quality public housing, without access to health clinics or public transport are being left behind in favour of spending billions in continuing the previous Government’s Roads of National Significance. Beneficiaries are already struggling to cover the basic costs of living, and lack of access to adequate infrastructure makes life more expensive for those in hardship”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty.
“Ensuring people have access to state housing, hospitals, modern schools, public transport and recreational infrastructure is key to reducing the inequities between wealthy and low-income neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, this Government has not directly funded Kāinga Ora to ensure that our public housing infrastructure is energy efficient and results in warm, healthy homes.
“It’s telling that the Government is spending more on a single 22km road ($692m) than the whole $400 decarbonisation package or funding towards healthcare infrastructure. The Government could have used part of the $12b package to speed up the compliance of Kāinga Ora homes with the new Healthy Homes standards before 2023, to make sure no family is living in cold, unhealthy homes.
“The Government’s prioritisation of resource intensive roading projects over the wellbeing of our most vulnerable families is out of line with its rhetoric of poverty reduction and is instead a continuation of the status quo.
“While the Government increased the debt intake of Kāinga Ora by $4b it is not properly resourcing the crown agency to speed up the building of public housing to ensure the 15,000 households on the waiting list have a place to live in 4 years. If the Government does not speed up the building of public housing, we will still see thousands of families homeless and waiting longer than ever on the state housing waiting list. This Government is prioritising expensive roading projects over ending poverty.
“We are calling on the Government to release additional funding to ensure people have access to public housing that is healthy, universal healthcare, and efficient public transport infrastructure. There are enough resources in this country to ensure that every community has access to decent public infrastructure to live with dignity, what is missing is political courage and innovation from politicians.”