A new system needs to be part of the health response to Covid-19 – Auckland Action Against Poverty


The Delta outbreak in South Auckland – one of the heartiest suburbs in all of Tāmaki Makaurau (but with complex needs and support systems required to keep them well) has carried much of why we’ve continued to stay in lockdown for the time we have, and this takes a huge toll on all of us. “A lot of the research shows that existing inequities are exacerbated by Covid-19 and given Aotearoa is dealing with the Delta variant, it’s imperative that we look to protect all parts of our system by strengthening them” says coordinator of Auckland Action Against Poverty Brooke Pao Stanley.

This outbreak we’ve seen Work and Income continue to work from a low trust model for people on benefits and a high trust model for employers. We’ve seen the government invest money into Food Banks to deal with food insecurity and while we honour this mahi, it’s not on these organisations to fill in essential work gaps because the government won’t give people enough money to buy their own food. We’ve seen the outbreak hit emergency and transitional housing because we don’t have enough affordable housing for people on low incomes. Grant Robertson also said that he didn’t believe this lockdown would exacerbate inequality and it’s wild to hear him say that when all the research here and overseas points to it being the reality. It reflects this dangerous and violent ideology that people who are poor aren’t worth looking after.

We need a new system as part of the health response to Covid-19, because there are gaps that exist across all of it. Strengthening the welfare system by ensuring people have liveable incomes and access to secure and affordable housing would provide robust foundations for this, but we all need to work together to design ways that would keep us all well and thriving. This also needs to include the health of Papatūānuku, as our collective well-being is interconnected. If we can shut down our country for months at a time to protect the livelihood of our people, and pour billions of dollars into keeping people in paid employment then there’s no excuse to bring this same energy in addressing every other social ill we have in Aotearoa. There’s no excuse for us to change the whole system with the same thinking – in order to keep protecting the livelihood of everyone. The government has shown us that anything is possible, and so we should demand that a new system BE possible.


  1. Well said AAAP. It feels like a transformational moment – but where is the plan? Instead we have an omnibus bill going through under urgency “the COVID-19 Response (Management Measures) Legislation Bill” that has nothing in it to address the severe inequality and hardship. The loss of the winter energy payment this week will compound the ill effects.

  2. They need to poor this money into people jobs, other wise this government would no longer exist.
    c an you imagine living through month of lockdown with any pay at all? Lol.
    and sadly, this government does not care about inequality, they have all the quality they want, with their 100% wages courtesy of the tax payer.
    So food banks it will be.

    • We need to properly define the boundaries of this or that what ever and put state funds into it so:

      Feed the kids bill!

      Arts precinct!

      Industrial hubs!

      Transport hubs!

      The list goes on.

  3. If war was declared tomorrow money would be found for weapons and uniforms new barracks would be build quick smart .
    We now see that plainly we are at war with poverty both here and overseas and until that is fixed none of us can be thought as save . The Spanish flu took rich and poor as did the plagues in earlier days.

    • That is no guarantee we would win any type of “war.”

      Following the path of every other government is not a new circumstance.

      Do we do what Britain did? America? Australia?

      It’s understandable so what’s the in impact on New Zealand and by will the population as a whole gain from it? I ask.

      It’s difficult to measure inequality and there have been attempts by economists to do cost benefit analysis so how much do we gain compared to the costs. But cost benifits are just to imprecise, we can’t put much faith in them because there’s just to many variables!

      One rough conclusion is that the costs and benefits should more or less balance.

      So why smirk at The Unions? And the answer to that is those that smirk at and seek to dismantle unions do not want an equal society.

  4. I totally agree with you Trevor Sennitt. You write often in various venues and I think you understand NZ problems well. Another aspect – the people doing the front line work against Covid19+ are likely to be from the poorer Auckland areas. We turn out lots of lawyers these days, not so many where there is hands-on work that requires sanitiser hand wash. Maori went to war in WW2 to underscore their devotion to the cause of NZ and goodness and integrity. All people in South Auckland deserve commendation and practical generosity..

    • Poverty porn is such a well trodden path. People just like narking on em.

      Y’know IV been watching those that used to say I’m right/left/ninja/extreme/business/elite/what ever feelings and emotions they need to manipulate my image get closer and closer untill the acknowledge the reality.

      President at for life, president of everything, everywhere, and everyone, President Xi new what he was doing. He wanted to eliminate corona at the same time that he was instituting authoritarian rule, Biden wants democratic rules, and Boris and Scomo want budget cuts.

      From that point of view, getting rid of the virus makes perfect sense in that there will be no regional independence namely containing China’s development.

      So the “benefits” (or rent seeking) is we get western dominance, and the cost is 400,000 dead globally and this is the bases for western elimination strategy, by severely harming the economy.


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