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State of the Nation 2024 shows ongoing, deepening pressures on individuals and families across NZ

The deepening cost-of-living crisis, increasing rental costs, lack of affordable housing, and wage inequality for women, Māori and Pasifika people are some of the many increasingly difficult challenges facing people across Aotearoa highlighted in The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation 2024 report, titled Ngā Tukunga Iho – The Things We Inherit.

“The theme of the 2024 report reflects the fact that the new government inherits both the achievements and the challenges from the previous government,” says Lt-Colonel Ian Hutson, director of the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit at The Salvation Army. “It also reminds us that the actions taken today will affect future generations and how they will live.”

Now marking its 17th year, the report pulls together existing data to provide an annual snapshot of our social progress as a nation. The report looks at five specific areas: Children and Youth, Work and Incomes, Housing, Crime and Punishment, and Social Hazards. A section of the report called Māori Wellbeing uses He Ara Waiora wellbeing framework to look at those five areas specifically for Māori.

The report shows progress made in recent years includes: reductions in child poverty levels, nearly 14,000 more social housing units, sustained low unemployment, increases in real incomes for households on the lowest incomes, reduced income inequality, declines in alcohol and drug consumption, and reduced reimprisonment rates. However, some indicators are worsening: the rising cost of living impacting lower-income households, rents in lower-income communities rising ahead of inflation, increasing food insecurity and financial hardship, rising trends in violent offending and victimisation, worsening education outcomes, and higher rates of moderate- to high-mental distress among young people.

Says Hutson of the report: “The new government needs to build on the progress made … and learn from what works.”

 

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