Ki te kotahi te kākaho ka whati, ki te kāpuia, e kore e whati
(by King Tāwhiao Nā Kīngi Tāwhiao tēnei tongi)
This is our sixth and final Covid-19 Social Impact Dashboard for 2020. It has been both disturbing and illuminating for us to provide these Dashboards as a social commentary of the impacts of Covid-19 on communities since early April 2020. As we produced these reports, we have been aware of the huge uncertainty, anxiety and loss that people have experienced but, despite this, we have been overwhelmed by the resilience of and community spirit in our nation during this period. It has been a blessing for The Salvation Army to observe and participate in providing food parcels, supporting of migrant workers and also to hear of neighbours looking after each other and numerous other community responses to this pandemic. This suggests the whakatauki (proverb) above, translated: If there is one toetoe stem it will break, but if they are together in a bundle, they will never break. Unity and community resilience are crucial as the new government forms, and as we deal with the long tail of social and economic damage of Covid-19.
This final Dashboard has two main purposes: first, it will provide another update as at November 2020 on the key social progress areas we have tracked for the last eight months: food security, financial hardship, addictions, housing, and incomes and employment; second, we have also added an additional section on crime and punishment to give some commentary on these issues. Specifically, this edition focusses on housing, particularly the challenges around the ‘sharper’ end of the housing continuum—homelessness and emergency, transitional and social housing. The second purpose of this Dashboard is to act as a briefing to the new Government. The proverbial dust has settled, and the new Government is moving ahead with their policy agenda. In this context, we propose some specific policy ideas and positions to contribute to the public discourse. And we invite all and any government ministers and MPs to engage in real dialogue with The Salvation Army, especially as we serve in our communities and work towards our mission of caring for people, transforming lives and reforming society by God’s power.