• May 11, 2018
Simon Bridges is skeptical over Jacinda Ardern's hope to eradicate homelessness this winter. Photo: Vandhna Bhan.
National leader Simon Bridges is disappointed the Government’s $100m plan for the homeless announced last week falls short of his party’s $300m package.
“The level of investment, which has significantly decreased, is probably due to the budget issues they are facing and the promises they have made,” says Mr Bridges.
“They’ve made a lot of promises so are really trying hard to lower the expectations but I think that’s an old trick and they do that so they can pull some rabbits out of the hat and people say ‘ooh that’s amazing, look there’s a rabbit’,” says Mr Bridges.
Queen Street resident, Naiyer Alok questions Mr Bridges saying, “if the commitment was there then why do we have such a high number of homelessness, or was it just because of the last election?”
After facing much backlash from the Labour Party about cleaning up National’s mess, Mr Bridges says, “There’s a lot of whining from the ministers.
‘It’s very hard’ they say, ‘we didn’t expect a lot of the problems we received’. I don’t believe any of that. The financial responsibility laws in New Zealand means they get to see everything in black before they come in to government.”
Ultimately, he believes that Budget day will be focussed on the priorities of this new government.
Homelessness in Auckland alone is at 24,000 and Mr Bridges does not think the Government’s current plan is sufficient to eradicate homelessness this winter as PM Jacinda Ardern had previously stated.
Labour Party MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan also agreed $100m is not enough but says, “it’s the best we could do for homelessness in our first six months compared to the end of their [National Party’s] nine years”.
Ms Radhakrishnan also says the Government is focussing on housing alongside poverty, mental health and addictions, all of which are contributing factors into homelessness.
“It’s all got to be part of the package. We have looked deeper into the issues around homelessness than just getting them off the streets and into homes. I think our priorities are in check,” says Ms Radhakrishnan.