May 30, 2018, 5:35 p.m.
For Māori aged 15 years and over, the median income in Northland Region is $19,100, compared with a median of $22,500 for all Māori in New Zealand. Now compare all of that with Statistics New Zealand figures that show all New Zealanders are earning on average $50,000 a year. The impact these differences have on Māori families in Te Taitokerau will take your breath away.
Associate Professor Susan St John of the Child Poverty Action Group is an advocate for the poorest children in New Zealand. As a result of the recent 2018 Budget, the Government plans to pay a Families Package of an extra $75 per week to help 384,000 families from the 1st of July. More than 140,000 children are living below the poverty line. Many of these whānau are based in Te Taitokerau or whakapapa to iwi from Te Taitokerau.
According to Associate Professor Susan St John "it's not enough," she says, "currently the very worst off families are denied $72.50 a week, based on the principle that oh well we will give to you if you're in work, but if you don't meet the hours of work you cant have. That's just produced more poverty, not more work."
Associate Professor Susan St John of the Child Poverty Action Group draws our attention to the housing problems of poor families and she says, "their housing [conditions] produce third world diseases for them."
More than 100 families in Te Taitokerau are on the waiting list to get into state-owned houses. Unaffordable rental properties are forcing people to turn to either emergency housing, marae or sleep rough to survive.
In the Northland Region, 52.1 percent of Māori aged 15 years and over have an annual income of $20,000 or less, compared with 46.3 percent of Māori in New Zealand. A lack of work opportunities often makes it difficult meet the work hours threshold to receive the Families Package.