“After two years of ever increasing demand for social services and supports our members are reporting longer waiting lists, fewer resources and the need to ration access to services”, said Trevor McGlinchey, New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) Executive Officer. “The resilience of families is wearing thin. Savings and extended family resources that supported those affected by unemployment and reduced work hours in the early days of the recession are becoming exhausted. More and more families need access to the critical social services provided by Christian and other community agencies”.
“However, the limited additional funding provided by the Government to these organisations has not been sufficient to meet the demands. Waiting lists have lengthened and some agencies have had to ration their services by severely limiting the geographic areas within which they work”, said Ruby Duncan, NZCCSS President and CEO of Iosis, a Christian social services organisation based in South Auckland. “This means people cannot get easy access to services to cope with family crises caused by un-and/or-under-employment as a result of the recession. Having to wait for long periods of time means that the crises deepen and the impacts are harder to address”.
“As can be seen in in the latest Vulnerability Report there has been a 26% increase in the indebtedness of families seeking budget advice. This level of debt is indicative of the financial stress felt by many families”, said Mrs Duncan. “Trying to service up to $30,000 worth of debt when one or both earners in the family may have lost their jobs is incredibly difficult and exacerbates family tensions. This in turn puts pressure on family counselling and support services”.
Included in the range of information in the Vulnerability Report are the unemployment statistics for the year ended September 2010. There has been a small drop in the overall unemployment rate from 6.9 to 6.4%. However, the “Māori only” category of unemployed increased from14.2% (2009) to 16.2% (2010), this compares with a “European only” category decrease from 4.5% (2009) to 4.3% (2010). The “Pacific peoples only” category went from 12.3% (2009) to 13.5% (2010). There has been a small drop in overall youth unemployment from 16.8 to 16.2%. Māori youth unemployment remained static at 26.8% and Pasifika increased by 1.9% to 29.8%.
“Once again the Vulnerability Report has highlighted the inequalities experienced by different groups of New Zealanders”, said McGlinchey. “It is intolerable that over a quarter of Māori youth and nearly a third of Pasifika youth are unemployed. These young people are taonga that will provide both the leadership and the energy that will be critical for New Zealand’s future. We must ensure our young people are given the chance to develop the skills and attitudes that will give them the best start in life for without this New Zealand will continue to struggle with its unrealised potential for many years to come.”
Contact for further information:
Ruby Duncan, NZCCSS Acting President – (027) 455 5218 – (09) 269 1402
Trevor McGlinchey, NZCCSS Executive Officer – (027) 286 9393 – (04) 473 2627