WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Churches to host housing pre-election forum on 9 August 2017

WelCom August 2017: Cardinal John Dew and Bishop Justin Duckworth will co-host a pre-election public forum about housing, at the Anglican Cathedral on Molesworth St, Wellington, on Wednesday August 9, from 5.45pm.

The forum will include hearing voices of people in the community affected by housing issues, Christian perspectives from the Anglican and Catholic Bishops, and responses from politicians on their respective party housing policies.

Cardinal John Dew has been in discussion with the Government through the annual Church Leader meetings with the Prime Minister. Housing issues have been a significant part in this year’s conversation.

‘We told the Prime Minister ensuring access to affordable housing is perhaps the most important means to lifting New Zealanders out of poverty,’ says Cardinal John.

‘Our social-service agencies are seeing the impact of our housing crisis in many ways. For example, some families are living in cold, damp homes; and others are frequently moving house to find suitable accommodation.’

Cardinal John also sees the visible face of homelessness in the increasing numbers of people who ‘sleep rough’ on the streets of Wellington in his early morning walks through the city. However, he says that most of New Zealand’s housing need is not visible on the streets.

‘People who are couch surfing, or living in overcrowded conditions, or sleeping in their cars may not be readily visible to many New Zealanders. But the impacts are felt in our classrooms and communities, and throughout our whole society.

‘Pope Francis has said the struggle for housing, together with work and land, are ‘sacred rights’.’ We recognise everyone needs a home, and we believe New Zealand is capable of providing better housing and improved housing security for all our families.’

Politicians to speak at the forum about their party’s vision for housing include: Andrew Little, Leader, Labour Party; Metiria Turei, Co-Leader, Green Party; David Seymour, Leader, ACT Party. Other politicians are to be confirmed.

All are invited to attend the forum. Food and refreshments will be available from 5.45pm, and Wellington Community Choir will sing at 6.15pm. The forum starts formally at 6.30pm.

Lesley Hooper