Kapi-Mana News : October 18th 2011
22 KAPI-MANA NEWS, OCTOBER 18, 2011 NEWS/OPINION ENROL NOW AND VOTE FASTER. Enrol now and you will receive your EasyVote card which makes voting so much easier and faster on Election Day. Easy! 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In June this year, HNZ announced it would no longer keep a waiting list of Priority B and C clients. ''Most of our tenants are no longer the 'nuclear family' of mum, dad and two kids, but single people living alone, including the elderly and people with disabilities, solo parents, and larger families requiring family homes'' -- acting regional manager Jackie Pivac. Currently, there are 35 HNZ properties available for clients, mostly with three or four bedrooms. Most of the clients on the current waiting list require one- or two- bedroom homes. HNZ Porirua area has 29 staff working from the Porirua Neighbourhood Unit in South Lydney Place in tenancy services, maintenance and asset management. FROM Page 1 HNZ s ability to cope with the needs of Porirua residents is already a hot topic, Mr Faafoi says. The waiting list s the biggest issue. We ve got 400 people on the waiting list -- that means a lot of people are in overcrowded homes, but that brings up health and learning issues for the children that are in those homes, so it s a cycle, an on- going social issue. HNZ says the changes will help it cope better with its core business of providing housing to those in need. We cannot continue to meet the challenges of the future with our current technology and ser- vice delivery approach, chief executive Lesley McTurk announced last month. We are focusing all of our efforts on our core functions of managing the state housing stock, and housing those in greatest need, for the time of their need. HNZ acting regional manager Jackie Pivac says HNZ workers regularly visit clients in the community and often come across tenants with wider diffi- culties than just tenancy issues. When our tenants have needs that go beyond housing, it is important that they get the help they need from those who are best to provide it. We are improving the protocols around referring customers to the Ministry of Social Development to get the other help they need from the correct providers. Issues HNZ workers in Porirua come across range from health and mental issues to social isolation, domestic viol- ence, child abuse, truancy and antisocial behaviour, Ms Pivac says. We can t and should not expect our tenancy managers to deal with such a broad range of issues. Other social service agencies have the expertise to do that. Proposed national changes include increasing the national call centre so all routine inquir- ies are dealt with by phone, specialist national teams for a narrow range of tasks to be handled in bulk, and narrowing and increasing the tenancy management portfolios of frontline staff. About 100 jobs are expected to be cut nationwide from a staff of about 1100. It is not known if any will go in Porirua. The HNZ Community Renewal Office at 203 Bedford St was closed on September 30 as part of the restructuring pro- cess, with staff relocated to the Neighbourhood Unit, Lydney Place, in the CBD. Ms Pivac says it has been proposed to move the Neigh- bourhood Unit into the Ministry of Social Development Com- munity Link Centre, but a decision has not been made yet. Porirua remains an area of significant priority for Housing New Zealand. As a major land- lord, we will continue to main- tain a strong presence in the Porirua area, she says. Black diversion TALKING POLITICS GORDON CAMPBELL The grounding of the Rena container ship off Tauranga did the impossible last week, in that it pushed the Rugby World Cup (temporarily) off the top of the news bulletins. The Rena also rescued Prime Min- ister John Key from his astonishing bid to make political capital out of the credit downgrade of the New Zealand economy by the Standard and Poor s rating agency. In Parliament, Key claimed the agency had said a downgrade would be more likely if Labour won this year s election, but then failed spec- tacularly to produce evidence for his point, which S& P flatly denied ever making. Ultimately, Key was left waving around an anonymous email, in which his unnamed source had inferred the meaning that Key had boldly announced in Parliament as an established fact. The Prime Minister s personal credibility is one thing. By week s end, the Government s economic credibility was in no better shape, with the country now running an $18.4 billion fiscal deficit ($2 billion more than forecast) and the related discovery of a $1 billion shortfall between the cost of the last round of tax cuts, and the hike in GST that was supposed to pay for them. Initially, the Government must have breathed a sigh of relief when the Rena hit the reef, and hogged all the headlines. For now, the Government seems to be treating the Rena incident as being akin to an earthquake or simi- lar random act of God. It may well take months before the role played by deregulation and the related lack of adequate response facilities comes to the fore. So far, public outrage has chiefly been directed at the slow reaction time by central and local government alike, and at the lack of leadership from either Key or his transport min- ister Steven Joyce. Joyce, in particular, initially appeared to take a bemused wait and see approach after the ship ran aground. The economic cost of the cleanup will run into tens of millions of dollars. Arguably, an incident like the Rena grounding has been an acci- dent waiting to happen since the 1988 Port Companies Act absolved port companies from their previous responsibilities for safety and good navigation standards, and told them to operate as a business. New Zealand s coastal waters have increasingly become deregulated, as this country has virtually invited flag-of-convenience shipping (with all their dubious standards and poor working conditions) to dominate our coastal shipping trade. Two reports -- in 2001 and 2003 -- highlighted the inadequacy of the existing resources to cope with oil spills, to little or no effect. For now, this chronic lack of adequate oil spill contingency plans -- to link local and regional councils to Maritime New Zealand and the relevant ministers -- is not being sheeted home to the Government, or to a popular Prime Minister. Even so, the Rena disaster should have drastic repercussions for coastal shipping, and for oil drilling and exploration in this country s vul- nerable marine environment.
October 11th 2011
October 25th 2011