In the year to June 2011 there was a recorded youth (15-24 year olds) unemployment rate of 17.3 percent in New Zealand. The New Zealand Institute (2011) reports that New Zealand youth bear a greater share of the unemployment burden than youth in any other OECD country. New Zealand has one of the highest proportions of workers aged 15-24, 16% of our labour force. Young workers represent almost half (43%) of all New Zealand’s unemployed. The young people of today are the leaders and workers for the future.
The median house price in Hamilton City increased by 66 percent from 2002 to 2006 and there have been further smaller increases since that time. Home ownership rates have decreased in recent years. Household incomes have fallen behind increases in accommodation costs, so the proportion of income that low to medium income households need to spend to meet accommodation costs is now greater. For many people the ‘family home’, if we have been privileged to experience this over time and sometimes generations, provides a sense of place and stability in our lives. Homes need to be warm, dry and affordable for all people.
Research estimates that across the decile 1 and 2 schools in the Waikato region, approximately 25% of children are coming to school with some degree of food need. Schools are responding to the issue of child hunger in a number of ways with much concern, care and creativity. Approximately 75% of the decile 1 and 2, primary and intermediate schools in the Waikato have a breakfast programme. At Poverty Action Waikato it is our perspective that dialogue and debate are important in the shaping of what we as a society or community can do to reduce food insecurity, especially for our children.
Neglect and nurture are experienced in different ways across our society. When society, communities and individuals neglect to care for one another this has devastating consequences. Babies, children and young people often suffer the most from neglect. This suffering can impact their whole life journey. Without opportunities for healing and restoration, experiences of neglect can result in further suffering. When the nurture of our most vulnerable populations and the care of one another is prioritised by individuals, communities and society, flourishing and wellbeing are enabled.
Poverty Action Waikato is undertaking research to develop a 2015/16 “Window on Waikato Poverty” report. The focus of this report is to develop understandings of the experiences of neglect and nurture in our communities. Our research will provide social services and community with the information that will support advocacy for a future where poverty and neglect are not tolerated and all people are supported to live flourishing lives.
This research is supported by the Social Development Division of the Hamilton City Council. The final report will be a public document and will be presented to Hamilton City Council in February/March 2016.
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