What the Candidates said...

We put these questions to the Wellington Central candidates, their answers are below. 

Q1
Auckland’s Housing First project received $3.7m of Government funding over 4 years to Auckland Council’s $1m.  Given WCC’s and Wellington ratepayers’ commitment to social housing, what is your party’s commitment to providing a similar contribution to Wellington to provide the required wraparound services and support?

Green Party

The Green Party was proud to be part of showing leadership on this issue by initiating a cross-party Parliamentary enquiry on homelessness along with the Māori Party and the Labour Party. We are committed to partnering with local governments to implement a housing first strategy and work with them on a broader strategy to reduce and ultimately eliminate rough sleeping in New Zealand. Our “Homes not Cars” plan calls for waiving the Housing NZ dividend and reprioritizing this money towards frontline housing first approaches and a similar partnership to the Wellington City Council could be funded through this approach.

TOP

TOP would fund WCC the same as any other provider of social housing; i.e. they should receive income related rents. In fact, WCC could receive this funding now if it shifted their social housing into a charity as Christchurch did. If WCC received this funding it would free up millions to invest in other homelessness initiatives on the ground. www.top.org.nz/top12

NZ First

Rapid population growth is exacerbating housing shortage. New Zealand First is committed to supporting more affordable housing for people to buy and to rent and to providing wrap around services and support. The housing shortage is most acute at the smaller end of the market - most affecting first home buyers and older people wanting to downsize. We will ensure the state is proactive in building thousands more warm dry homes for owners and for tenants. We will provide 2% finance for 5 years for first home purchasers and a 25 year rent to buy facility to help reduce the barrier of raising the deposit. We have the lowest proportion of home ownership since the 1950s and we want more people to be able to own their own home. That is one of the foundation stones of strong community.  

As part of this we will also provide long term low interest (2%) loans to support Councils social housing. Too many people have been left behind and we want to address the cocktail of deprivation, poor housing, lack of education, inability to read, mental illness, addiction, social isolation suffered by too many people. That will take resources and time being invested in social work, health, education, and training. Wellington City Council already does a very good job of wrap around services including working to house and keep housed people who are on our streets. That is a 'housing first' model for the incoming Government to follow.   

NO ANSWERS from: Labour, National, ACT, United Future.   


Q2
Given the severe lack of addiction support services in central Wellington, despite there being a critical need due to the congregating of people with these specific needs in the CBD, what will your party do to improve this situation?

Green Party

Our mental health and addiction services are severely underfunded. In Wellington, one third of people wait longer that three weeks to see a counsellor for help with addictions. One in seven teenagers has to wait longer than eight weeks. When people reach out for help, it needs to be taken seriously and addressed in a timely manner. The Green Party is calling for a comprehensive mental health inquiry, including addiction services, to ensure that services are accessible, relevant, and well-used by those who need them.

TOP

At the moment only half the people wanting drug and alcohol services can get them, so we need to double spending on alcohol and drug addiction services (another $150m). We would fund this by legalising, regulating and taxing cannabis and increasing the tax on alcohol. www.top.org.nz/top10

NZ First

As I have said in answering the above question we need to tackle the root causes of the problems people face, including addiction. That takes dedicated people on the ground, working one by one with addicts. We need to work with the Council and the amazing community based organisations that are working with people with addictions. That means providing resources. We have seen a number of valued services close because of lack of funding for the DHB, and know that now is a time we need to invest more in health, housing and education. We do not want people left behind.  

NO ANSWERS from: Labour, National, ACT, United Future.   


Q3
Wellington has 4 officers in its neighbourhood policing team for a population of 18,019 (2013 Census), which is resulting in slow, or no response, to anti-social incidents which are affecting people’s perception of the central city.  What will your party do to address this shortage?

Green Party

We support the expansion of community based policing which is focused on establishing positive interactions between the police and communities and promoting safety. Wellingtonians deserve to feel safe in their communities and Police have a role to play in that.

TOP

The priority in reducing anti-social incidents is increasing the drinking age to 20. www.top.org.nz/top10

TOP would also provide more funding for communities to put in place initiatives that could prevent or reduce crime. This would pay for itself in reductions in the prison population. www.top.org.nz/top13

NZ First

New Zealand First is committed to training and delivering 1800 additional Police nationwide. We are committed to having a Police force that is more accessible to the community, including double staffing of Police bases. We are also well aware of the value communities place on having their own community policemen and women and the value there is in building personal relationships between Police personnel and communities. 

On a personal note it is my view that there is mileage to gain from contractual arrangements between the Police Minister and Commissioner, with greater specificity about the services and service outcomes that the Minister expects to be delivered.

NO ANSWERS from: Labour, National, ACT, United Future.