Marama Davidson - Debate on the 2016/17 Annual Reviews - Social Development and Housing Sector

Firstly, for clarity, Madam Chair, I'd like to ask if I am able to traverse both the social development part and the housing part in one debate?

[Madam Chair nods] Thank you, Madam Chair. My goodness, because there's a lot to traverse, to be honest, and they're all connected, and this is the thing.

So in the appropriations in the annual review for the previous year, what we saw—what we saw—from this previous National Government was a running of our services to the ground. That came through in the appropriations in terms of putting surplus before services, putting a reach for a Budget surplus before ensuring we have got sound, strong, adequate services to make sure our people are well, to make sure they can live in an affordable, safe home that's not going to make them sick, and to make sure that people have a enough to live decent lives, if they are going to a Work and Income office to try and get the support they need. In the appropriations we actually saw the previous National Government, in the way that they distributed investments in resources, upholding the degradation of people. That's what came through in the appropriations.

So I want to pick up that in the previous year—in fact, early this year, and from the last year—we saw an example of how those appropriations played out with a report from the Manukau Auckland University of Technology (AUT): a professor who let us know that the transience—the situation of people having to move and move and move and move is appalling and disgusting for this country. For instance, women in particular are impacted on. Women with children are impacted on. Māori and Pacific women were moving up to seven times in three years from home to home because the previous appropriations have not made a difference in terms of making sure that people can stay put, and that the supply—that investing in enough State housing, especially while we're in the middle of a homelessness crisis, and making sure that we are building enough homes to meet the demand of what is happening. None of that had happened, and for a long time it hadn't happened, and, in actual fact, I want to stipulate again, this previous National Government left a shortfall of 71,000 houses nationwide and 45,000 short in Auckland.

But here's the thing, here's the rub: that shortfall grew from nearly zero from nearly 10 years ago. So that shortfall continued in the previous appropriations, and the annual review did not make a meaningful impact on that. And what did that look like on the ground—what did that look like on the ground? It looked like people lining up outside of Work and Income in my community, in Manurewa, and elsewhere around the country, and, in Auckland, a young mum with her newborn baby who got into that line at 7 a.m. in the morning in the middle of winter purely to try and get extra for what she needed because of high housing costs that the annual appropriations did not sort out.

What must it take? Can any of us in here relate to what it must take for a young mum with a newborn baby to get up and line up at 7 a.m. in the morning to try and get some help for what she needs? That's well beyond what—I think it was—Mr Tim Macindoe referred to as "dependency"; that's us gone wrong, that's what that is. We didn't sort that out, and, certainly, the previous annual appropriations did not sort that out at all. So, we're going to change all of that, because, first and foremost, this is a Government that understands that it is the well-being of our people that will create a strong economy, and those are the appropriations that we are putting in place.

Also, I'm pleased to say, I'm proud to lead, with Minister Phil Twyford, one of the areas where we can improve homeownership, which is with having a rent-to-own or progressive homeownership scheme, which is part of the Greens' agreement with Labour. I'm proud to say that those are the sorts of appropriations that should be being made. That's the agenda that we need to see in these annual reviews, and with this Government, it is understanding what is important to get our economy, our societies, and our environment right, and that we put those at the centre rather than surplus at all costs, which is what we saw in the nine years, but especially in the previous annual review of appropriations.

So, I'm proud to stand here today, and, again, lay that commitment in the ground—that this Government is turning the degradation on its head and we will be committed to putting in place the real appropriations that will make that work. Thank you, Madam Chair.