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Friday, 17 August 2018 09:11 am

Salvation Army counts the forgotten in latest report card

Feb 14th, 2018 | By | Category: Latest News

Beneficiaries are not doing well, and wage and salary earners doing worse, despite New Zealand’s prosperity in recent years.

The Salvation Army’s annual report card on the country says people, and not the economy’s growth should be at the centre of how we measure progress.

The annual State of the Nation report shows the growing economy is not improving housing, work and income, crime and punishment rates, and the lives of vulnerable children.

Lieutenant Colonel Ian Hutson, director of their Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit says they  deal with people who fall out of the system, and whose stories don’t get told.

“There is a saying, that you count what is important. If we don’t count those people we’re saying they’re not important,” says Mr Hutson.

The report shows child poverty rates haven’t budged much despite per capita GDP growing by 13 per cent over the last 10 years.

By 2016, one-fifth of children were estimated to be living in homes receiving an income less than half of the median income.

The report says there are glaring holes in the country’s national statistics.

It says we do not know what happens to children and families when they leave benefits because no effort has been made to find out.

Similarly there are no recent estimates of the extent to which working households with children fall below various poverty lines.

Mr Hutson says with statistics like these, the most important thing is to get the information in front of people who make decisions and can take actions.

“Our information gathering tells a story of how they are doing and makes us able to advocate for people on the margins.”

The Salvation Army released the report with breakfast events in Wellington and Auckland.

“Some people need to hear you present the report, to ask questions and engage with it. Some like to have dialogue,” says Mr Hutson.

The report is available online: The Salvation Army

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