Media Statement For Immediate Release
Wednesday 28th February 2018
Inequality Got Worse in Tauranga under Simon Bridges
The Tauranga-based income equality project Closing the Gap calls on local MP Simon Bridges to commit to tackling inequality, poverty and homelessness in his new role as Leader of the Opposition — something he has not done in his nearly 10 years as MP for Tauranga.
Peter Malcolm, spokesman for Closing the Gap, said inequality and unaffordable housing in Tauranga are two of many problems that have become chronic in the city since Mr. Bridges took office.
In his press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Bridges said the National Party were “the best economic managers, who will have to pick up the pieces”.
“There was much more breaking than picking up of pieces in Tauranga under Mr. Bridges and the National Government,” Mr. Malcolm said. A recent study showed falling home ownership in the city and region, with nearly 90 percent of renters not earning enough to buy a house.
Meanwhile, the level of homelessness can only be considered a crisis, with Tauranga City Council calling it “unprecedented”.
Inequality in the city is very easy to see, Mr. Malcolm said, and it has been well documented by researchers, with Deprivation Index maps showing wide gaps between those who have and those who do not.
“The levels of deprivation and inequality in the city are reflected across the Bay of Plenty region,” he said, “with 25 percent of the BOP’s population considered ‘most deprived’.
“Mr. Bridges said today that he and his team would be getting out and about, and meeting New Zealanders. We’re eager to meet with him to talk about the problems in his own back yard, and what he plans to do about them as local MP and as Leader of the Opposition,” Mr. Malcolm said.
Homelessness in Tauranga: https://tauranga.govt.nz/community/community-services/homelessness
SmartGrowth report on unaffordable housing: https://www.smartgrowthbop.org.nz/media/1971/smartgrowth-housing-need-and-demand-report_final-dec-2017-002.pdf