As well as hearing from people about what is hitting them the hardest we would love to hear your ideas for changes that will ensure all New Zealanders have a chance at a good life and a fair future.
The Green Party MPs have been meeting with people from all over New Zealand this winter to hear about what is hitting them the hardest so we know where to focus our work.
Over and over again we are hearing two things: too many rental homes are cold and damp, and families don’t have enough income to cover the basics.
At our Whangarei meeting, a mother told us about the terrible condition of her rental house:
“I have a wet sagging ceiling and no insulation. Housing NZ nailed wood on top of ceiling, but my house is still damp and the condensation is terrible.”
And a social worker described some of the harsh realities she sees every day in her community:
“The need for housing is huge. Whānau are getting bigger with more kids. Lots are forced to live in garages, tents, caravans, cabins and even tents because older style rentals with 1-2 bedrooms just aren’t adequate.”
At our Auckland meeting, a young student told us about his family’s everyday struggle:
“Cost of living is really hard. When we do get money, we don’t have enough to throw here and there. Mum’s getting a new job but we still can’t afford proper beds.”
And a social worker described some of the harsh realities she sees too often in her community:
“Families are renting individual rooms in a single house. I’m working with a mum and her kids who are renting a single bedroom with an en-suite for $400 a week.”
At our Wellington meeting, a union delegate told us about the reality for many in his community:
“Many rental houses are unliveable. Lots of people are living in sleep-outs and trailers. Families are sharing small houses because they can’t afford to live in their own house.”
And a teacher described his deep concern for his students and their families:
“We have children who come to school with only a packet of chips for lunch. We try to help and provide for those children because we know the parents are struggling financially.”
At our Christchurch meeting, a social worker described some of the harsh realities he sees his community faced with:
“Here the shops mainly sell cheap high fat foods. Accessibility to healthy food is limited. When a pie and fizzy drink is cheaper than milk, somethings wrong.”
And a mother described the struggle to keep her family warm:
“I live in a state house that’s freezing. We’ve got wood for heating, but it burns so fast and adds to pollution. I don’t know why they don’t just fix the house instead. I’m on the benefit; I can’t afford a heater.”
At our Dunedin meeting, a young mum living in a private rental house told me:
“I bought a rocker for my baby and after 5 days in the house, it was covered in mould because the house is so cold and damp even with insulation under the floor.”
Another mum living in a cold state house told me about her two small children who get sick every winter.
“I’m not able to pay my power bill at the moment because I don’t have enough money so my kids will get sicker.”