The Government is providing warm and safe housing for those New Zealanders who need a helping hand, says Social Housing Minister Amy Adams.
“We’re committed to helping vulnerable New Zealanders who need help with housing. That's why we spend over $6 million each day helping 310,000 New Zealanders with their housing and accommodation costs,” says Ms Adams.
“Under this Government, there is a record investment in social and emergency accommodation. Last year we announced our plans to grow the number of social houses available, from 66,400 today to 72,000 over the next three years.
“In Auckland, we’re undertaking the biggest housing project since the 1950s, building 34,000 new houses over the next 10 years. This is on top of the hundreds more social houses being built in areas of high-demand, like Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton.
“We’re also taking action that no other Government has to tackle homelessness, which includes our $20 million investment into Housing First to help long-term chronically homeless into secure housing.
“For the first time, the Government is providing permanent funding to transitional housing – helping 8600 families every year with a warm, safe place to stay while they get back on their feet while providing wraparound social support. Special needs grants for emergency housing are also available to people in urgent need so no one needs to sleep in a car.
“This is on top of the $2 billion Families Incomes Package announced in Budget 2017, which will help 136,000 lower-income families meet their living costs through our changes to the Accommodation Supplement.
“Our social housing reforms are working for those in need. We’ve changed a system that was focused on simply providing a house, to one that is providing better tailored, wraparound support to help people get back on their feet, while also increasing overall supply.”
The Government has today announced details of the $100 million social investment fund for mental health, says Social Investment Minister Amy Adams and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.
The $100 million fund will be invested in a package of 17 new initiatives aimed at helping New Zealanders suffering from mental health issues, as well as focusing on improving services and earlier intervention.
This fund is part of a $224 million boost for mental health services over four years in Budget 2017. It builds on the Government’s continued investment in this area, increasing from $1.1 billion in 2008/09 to $1.4 billion in 2016/17.
“Mental health is a social investment priority for this Government. It’s one of our most challenging social issues and it affects a large number of New Zealanders with complex needs,” Ms Adams says.
“We want to help individuals and their families through the challenges they are facing so they can lead healthier and more independent lives and we will need to bring together a range of services and targeted new approaches to do so.
“With this in mind, we have brought together Ministers, their agencies and experts to deliver a truly cross-Government approach to mental health and to allocate the fund.”
“In line with international trends we’ve seen an increase in demand for mental health and addiction services here in recent years,” Dr Coleman says.
“The evidence shows that we need to transform our mental health services to build resilience in children and young people to help them better deal with mental health issues and to learn how to overcome known risk factors like trauma.
“The $100 million package invests in a range of initiatives designed to improve access to effective and responsive mental health services, while at the same time starting to shift our focus towards prevention, early intervention and resilience-building.
“The 17 new initiatives intend to:
- Begin reorienting our approach to mental health towards a focus on prevention, early intervention and resilience-building (focused particularly on school-aged children and young people).
- Provide a more effective range of responses to meet the needs of people in crisis (or at risk of a crisis situation), as well as upskilling the mental health workforce.
- Expand distance and e-therapy options, which will enable provision of support earlier, in a more accessible manner.
- Extend the coverage of supports for people experiencing mild to moderate mental disorders.
- Build the New Zealand evidence base in this area through adapting, trialling and evaluating programmes or approaches from overseas.
“This package forms part of a wider programme of work to prevent and respond to mental disorders,” Dr Coleman says.
A re-elected National Government will continue its focus on keeping New Zealanders safe by cracking down on the most serious young offenders and holding negligent parents to account.
“Our youth justice system works well for the vast majority of young offenders and our relentless focus on reducing crime has seen the youth crime rate drop 31 per cent. However there remains a small group of around 150 young people who continue to commit large numbers of serious offences,” National’s Justice Spokesperson Amy Adams says.
“These are young people who have been in and out of Youth Court but have shown no willingness or ability to change their behaviour. We are not prepared to just sit back and allow their victims to keep racking up until they reach adulthood.
“We want New Zealanders to be safe in their homes, at work, and on the streets, so we will introduce a $60 million package over four years that will deal with the most violent and recidivist young offenders more seriously, to reduce reoffending.
“We will introduce a Young Serious Offender (YSO) classification which will see this very small group of the most hardened young offenders dealt with in ways that better reflect the seriousness of their crimes and help ensure fewer people are victimised.
“As a part of this, we will establish a defence-led Junior Training Academy based at the Waiouru Training Camp. Judges will be able to order YSOs who commit serious subsequent offences to attend the Academy for one year. The Academy will support YSOs to address problems like addiction or a lack of literacy and numeracy skills, helping them lead better lives while keeping the public safe.
“Those who fail to complete their time at the Academy will serve a commensurate adult sentence of imprisonment instead.”
It is estimated that approximately 50 YSOs per year will be sent to the Junior Training Academy. $30 million over four years has been allocated to fund the YSO scheme.
We're dealing with the toughest kids with the worst records who have taken almost no notice of their obligations to the community pic.twitter.com/a9qMLSqEoq— NZ National Party (@NZNationalParty) August 14, 2017
Other changes under the YSO classification will include tightening bail requirements, increasing the use of electronic monitoring, and removing the ability for these most serious young offenders to be released early from any youth justice custodial sentences.
A new National Government will also take further steps to help prevent less serious young offenders moving along the pathway to more serious crime.
“In many cases, young people who offend have few good role models or are given the freedom to commit crimes. We will make changes to hold their parents to account, including by allowing Police to issue instant infringement notices to parents of children under 14 walking the streets without supervision between 12am and 5am,” Ms Adams says.
“In addition, any breaches of court orders directed at a young person’s parent will be recorded on that parent’s criminal record. A loophole means this is not the case currently.
“We will also introduce a contestable fund of $30 million over four years for community groups to support programmes to reduce offending, because we know local solutions are often the best, and we want to give smaller or rural communities the opportunity to take further action.
“National is proud to be the law and order party, that is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe, supporting victims, and addressing the drivers of crime.”
Homecare Medical has been awarded the contract to develop and operate the 24/7 national helpline for New Zealanders affected by sexual violence, say Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.
“The Government is focused on developing a more sustainable and integrated national system to ensure victims of sexual violence get the support and services they need at the right time,” says Ms Adams.
“This free helpline will enable anyone who is affected by sexual violence to be given information, referred to local specialist services, and when required, provided with crisis counselling and support.”
“We want to better support victims of sexual violence through a long-term plan focusing on prevention, crisis and on-going support. It’s expected the helpline will initially provide support to around 10,000 victims a year,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The helpline will be rolled out in two phases with 24/7 phoneline services (including text/SMS and email) and a website available in December 2017, and online chat and social media services from March 2018.”
Budget 2016 invested $46 million to develop specialist sexual violence services to better support victims and prevent sexual violence.
The helpline is one of a number of initiatives under the work programme being led by the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence.
Owned by ProCare and Pegasus Health, Homecare Medical runs the National Telehealth Service which delivers free health and mental health advice, support and information including Healthline, Need to talk? 1737, Quitline and other specialist services.
An effort to end chronic homelessness in Auckland is making strong progress in its first four months, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams has announced.
“Since its launch in late March, Housing First Auckland has helped 150 people across Auckland into housing. Early indications are showing that more than 95 per cent are keeping off the streets,” Ms Adams says.
Housing First has helped 93 households off the street, out of shelters, cars, garages and overcrowded homes into safe, secure and stable accommodation. This includes 70 single adults, and 23 adults with 57 children. Housing First is currently working with another 156 people to help them into homes.
More than 75 per cent of those housed have been placed into Auckland’s private rental market, with the remainder going into social housing.
“This is a group who are struggling with a particularly complex set of issues, whether it’s mental health, alcoholism or family violence. Through initiatives like Housing First we can change the lives of people with highly-complex problems that don’t fit neatly within traditional government structures and approaches,” says Ms Adams.
“The priority for Housing First is to quickly move people into appropriate housing and then immediately provide wrap-around services to support their success. The model recognises that it’s easier for people to address the issues, such as mental health and substance abuse, once they are housed.
“Auckland is quickly seeing the benefit of Housing First’s approach to ending chronic homelessness on our streets. By no means is the problem solved, but these are encouraging numbers and first steps towards helping ease Auckland’s homeless.”
Of the 93 individuals, 43 are in the West, 18 in the CBD, 27 in South Auckland and five in Central Auckland. Single males have represented more than half of the adults housed in the first four months. 59 per cent are Maori.
Housing First Auckland is a joint initiative between the Government, Auckland Council, and a collective of five services including Affinity Services, Auckland City Mission, Lifewise, LinkPeople and VisionWest. It will help 472 homeless people over the next two years. The Government is investing $3.75 million and the Auckland Council $1 million.
Find out more about Housing First results at www.housingfirst.co.nz/results.
An evaluation of the Integrated Safety Response (ISR) pilot has confirmed that families are safer and better protected as a result of the pilot, say Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.
The final evaluation report released today by Superu found that the level of seriousness and the frequency of family violence incidents reduced significantly in the six months after people came into contact with the pilot.
“This report confirms that the ISR pilot is helping to transform lives by significantly changing the way family violence is responded to,” says Ms Adams.
“Since the pilot began in Christchurch in July 2016 and the Waikato in October 2016, more than 30,000 people have been supported through the development of nearly 10,000 family safety plans.
“These plans help ensure that victims are safer and better protected, and perpetrators are better supported to stop hurting their loved ones.”
The final evaluation report proves that a collaborative multi-agency approach is what is needed to tackle New Zealand’s high rate of family violence.
“The report shows the ISR pilot is delivering on many of its core aims and is well-placed to achieve better outcomes for more families,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Key achievements highlighted in the report include improved information sharing, risk assessment and safety planning, as well as more families taking up offers of support.
“The report also identifies some issues for further development. Budget 2017 invests $22.4 million to extend the ISR pilots for two years which will enable us to address these issues before we look to roll out the ISR nationally.”
The final evaluation report is available here.
Mark Ratcliffe will join the Housing New Zealand Corporation Board, Housing New Zealand Minister Amy Adams has announced.
“As New Zealand’s biggest landlord, Housing New Zealand has an important role in providing safe, warm social housing that’s the right size and in the right place for those in need.
“The Board plays a vital part in the strategic direction of Housing New Zealand, and I welcome Mr Ratcliffe’s commercial and senior executive expertise which will be a real asset to the Housing New Zealand Board,” says Ms Adams.
Mr Ratcliffe stepped down as the Chief Executive and Managing Director of Chorus earlier this year, after ten years in leadership roles with Chorus. Prior to that he held a number of senior operational and service delivery executive roles with Telecom.
“His time in the telecommunication industry puts Mr Ratcliffe in good stead for understanding highly-distributed assets. He brings extensive senior management experience in large-scale operational and service delivery businesses, and will add significant business management acumen to the Board.”
He currently sits on the Board of First Gas, and previously held governance roles with the New Zealand Initiative and the Telecommunications Carriers Forum.
Mr Ratcliffe’s term begins on 7 August until 30 June 2020.
Ms Adams thanked outgoing Board member Jeff Meltzer for his contribution.
Biography on Mark Ratcliffe
Mark Ratcliffe has worked for more than 25 years in the telecommunications industry. Mark was the CEO and Managing Director of Chorus Limited, a top twenty listed company in New Zealand, since its demerger from Telecom New Zealand (now Spark Limited) in 2011 until February 2017
He was Chief Executive of Chorus since 2008 when it was part of Telecom. Earlier roles at Telecom including Chief Operating Officer, Technology & Wholesale and Chief Information Officer.
Prior to telecommunication, Mark worked in senior accounting, IT, project management and consulting roles in England and New Zealand. Mark holds a Bachelor of Accounting, Huddersfield University, England. He is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.
Parliament has unanimously passed reforms to strengthen the existing Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.
“Money laundering and the financing of terrorism is a global issue with serious consequences. It is blight on society that undermines the hard work of legitimate businesses by allowing criminals to fund their lifestyles and fuel re-investment into criminal activities,” says Ms Adams.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill extends the current AML/CFT regime to lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, sports and racing betting and businesses that deal in certain high value goods.
“Extending the regime to these sectors will strengthen our ability to prevent, detect and prosecute many types of criminal activity. It is estimated these reforms will disrupt up to $1.7 billion of fraud and drug crime, prevent up to $5 billion in broader criminal activity, and reduce social harm by $800 million over ten years,” says Ms Adams
“This Bill will help prevent New Zealand being used by international criminals to launder money, and help protect our hard fought reputation as being one of the least corrupt countries in the world and a good place to do business.”
New Zealand’s AML/CFT regime is scheduled to be evaluated by the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) in 2020. This Bill will assist our preparation for the evaluation by FATF in 2020.
Ms Adams says the Bill strikes the right balance between combating crime, minimising the cost of compliance and meeting international obligations.
Businesses will have a period of time to prepare for the changes. The Government will provide guidance and information to help them understand, prepare for and comply with the law.
The Government has built 82 new social houses in the last year as Hamilton grows – with another 71 on their way, Social Housing Minister and Housing New Zealand Minister Amy Adams has announced.
“153 new social houses in two years means those vulnerable families in Hamilton in need have a warm, dry place to stay,” says Ms Adams.
Construction will start on the 71 new social houses this year, including 26 one- and two-bedroom homes at Jebson Place, with a number of other potential new builds and acquisitions under negotiation.
“Rapid growth in Hamilton means we need to increase the number of smaller social housing properties in Hamilton,” says Ms Adams.
“Nearly three quarters of social housing demand in Hamilton is now from single people, couples and small families. However, only about 50 per cent of Housing New Zealand’s Hamilton portfolio is suitable for this group.
“I’m pleased to also confirm that Housing New Zealand’s $12 million infill programme that was announced in May is now complete. It has made a significant and rapid impact, with 43 one- and two-bedroom houses built within a matter of months. It made sense to build the new infill homes on underutilised sections. Without needing to subdivide any sections, the new homes are very cost-effective and provide value-for-money for taxpayers.”
Ms Adams acknowledged the constructive relationship between Hamilton City Council and Housing New Zealand, which meant the project was able to be streamlined and the full consenting process fast-tracked.
“It was great to see Hamilton City Council working constructively with central government to help provide essential social housing projects for the city. Councils have a big role to play in solving demand for social housing in their communities, particularly through streamlining consenting processes to help us get houses built. We can build houses more quickly when councils cooperate. Hamilton City Council have done their ratepayers proud by being part of the solution.”
In addition to the 43 new infill homes, Housing New Zealand added another 39 new and fit-for-purpose homes to its Hamilton portfolio in 2016/17, replacing older homes at the end of their useful lifespan and increasing the portfolio’s alignment with demand. There was a net increase of 40 social housing homes in Hamilton during the year.
These replacement homes are in addition to Housing New Zealand’s $26 million investment on maintenance, upgrades and modernisation to its Hamilton portfolio over the last two years.
“It’s really important that in addition to building new homes, Housing New Zealand stays focused on maintaining its existing homes and bringing them up to a modern standard wherever possible,” Ms Adams says.
Short-term housing will be provided to perpetrators of family violence in the Waikato to help ensure victims are kept safe and can stay in their own homes, say Justice and Social Housing Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.
“The Government is putting $1.1 million into emergency housing for perpetrators at the Integrated Safety Response pilot sites in Waikato and Christchurch, because evidence shows it’s better to remove perpetrators than to uproot victims and children from the family home,” Ms Adams says.
The Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project has this week been awarded the contract to provide the service in the Waikato. In Christchurch, the service has been running through Stopping Violence Services for six months, and has already provided emergency housing for 22 perpetrators.
The emergency housing is for perpetrators who have been served a Police Safety Order stopping them from returning to the family home for up to five days, but who don’t have anywhere to go.
“Perpetrators must voluntarily agree to the referral. It gives them the opportunity to cool down, accept help, and address their abusive behaviour, while ensuring that victims and children can stay safe in their own homes,” Ms Adams says.
Mrs Tolley says perpetrators who use the service will also be referred to the Integrated Safety Response pilots, in which core agencies and NGOs work together to create family safety plans tailored to the specific needs of each victim, perpetrator and family.
“The emergency housing initiatives demonstrate how the ISR pilots are maturing and evolving as we gather more information and understanding of what will make a real difference for families.”
Police Safety Orders were introduced in New Zealand in 2010, and allow Police to remove a suspected perpetrator of family violence from the family home and require them to stay away for up to five days.
This emergency housing funding is part of the cross-agency work programme overseen by the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, which is committed to reducing family violence and keeping victims safe.