The PM has been caught out (once again) telling porkies
homeless remarks untrue - Sallies
statements by the government this week have jeopardised the Salvation
Army's ability to work with the homeless, the organisation says.
Minister John Key Photo: RNZ/Elliott
said the government's claims that Ministry of Social Development
(MSD) staff accompanied Salvation Army staff to visit homeless people
in a South Auckland park were incorrect.
Prime Minister John Key was talking about the "flying squad",
dispatched earlier this week by the government to help the homeless,
and gauge the level of the problem.
I think Tuesday or Wednesday night MSD and the Sallies went around
and knocked on I think eight cars that they could find, all eight of
those people refused to take support either from Sallies or from
the Salvation Army said that was not true.
commander Ian Hutson said it declined an offer by MSD officials to
accompany them, as many of the people there had a deep distrust of
Salvation Army had been working with the people in the park for four
weeks building trust, he said.
guess the main issue here for us is re-establishing the fact that we
were concerned that we would lose some of that relationship with
statements like this, that it will impair the way we will be able to
help the people there," Mr Hutson said.
to Checkpoint, Mr Hutson said he believed there had been some kind of
been carefully developing relationships with people there... gaining
said while MSD had asked the Salvation Army if they wanted to
participate, they preferred working the way they were.
not how we do things, we weren't involved in it.
homeless are] not always confident working with bureaucracy, maybe
even had some things in the past... where they haven't had a good
experience or something, that's one of the main reasons why we didn't
really want to go at it that way."
Kukutai works at the Kohanga Reo at the Te Puea marae, and has been
delivering food to homeless people and families living in their cars
in Auckland parks.
said government officials don't know how to approach people and make
them feel comfortable so they will accept help.
Hutson said people had said that they didn't want help, but he didn't
believe they wanted to live in a car.
it's just how you go about it, what kind of help they want."
leader Andrew Little said Mr Key needed to explain why he misled the
was clear Mr Key had put the Salvation Army's working relationship
with desperate families at risk, he said.
the Salvation Army are now saying that it's compromising their work,
that's pretty disturbing because we need folks like the Sallies and
the Auckland City Mission and anybody else out there helping these
folks until the government gets their act together to help them,"
Mr Little said.
Party co-leader James Shaw called on Mr Key to apologise.
went out of his way to try to make these homeless people look bad by
saying they declined government help - the Salvation Army has said
that that's simply not true," Mr Shaw said.
prime minister owes those people, the Salvation Army and all New
Zealanders an apology."
prime minister's office has issued a statement saying his comments
were based on advice given to him.