A new report from the Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit Mixed Fortunes: A Geography of Advantages and Disadvantages in New Zealandhas caused quite a stir this week. The premise of the report is that where you live matters and if you live in certain regions expect mixed fortunes. As always this SPPU report is well researched and clearly written. Sixteen local government regions are measured against four indicators:
people and populations
work and incomes
the wellbeing of children
the presence of social and other hazards.
The report concludes the results of regional wellbeing whilst mixed also point to parts of New Zealand where a significant group of people are struggling to achieve social and economic wellbeing. Along with differences across regions, are differences across ethnicities. As author of the report Senior Policy Analyst Alan Johnson says “..regions such as Northland, Gisborne and Waikato to a degree, and also Manawatu and Whanganui, have tended not to do as well say, through the education system and that young people in particular seem to be more prone to committing crime and being prosecuted for the crime. Those areas tend to be in those communities where a large proportion of the population is Māori and in particular, obviously, a large proportion of younger population is Māori“.