2023 General Election | The Salvation Army

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2023 General Election

Pressing Issues - 2023 NZ General Election

The Elections – Get Involved 

It is important that in a democratic country we all take part in the election by voting. It is an utter privilege we mustn’t take for granted. There is much more to do than just voting of course. Involvement in our democracy should continue in between elections through all the channels available. However, in this time leading up to election day it is important that we do our best to understand the issues that affect the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand – not just our own interests. To help with this process the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit is carrying out a range of activities to raise issues we want people to consider in relation to the election.  

We encourage you to engage with these various resources as you consider who you will vote for and what issues you will consider in doing so.


Pressing Issues for Our People

Voting in a General ElectionIn the lead up to the election SPPU is releasing a series of briefings to be released throughout August and September. The briefings will cover issues affecting jobs and incomes and tax, children and youth, housing, alcohol and gambling and illicit drugs, as well as criminal justice. The Pressing Issues briefing series offers a snapshot of the issues that the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit believe are important for the more than 150,000 people who The Salvation Army works with each year. We look at innovations and ideas that we think could make a difference, as well as questions to ask of political candidates about the issues and what they plan to do about it.

Pressing Issues

  1. Jobs, Living Costs and Tax

    We want to see plans from political parties that will ensure jobs and enough income for people on the margins struggling with rising living costs.

    We want to know how they will make sure employers to be flexible and invest in their people with fair wages.

    Hardship is deepest for people relying on welfare support. Will they commit to ensuring welfare support for all those needing it is set at a minimum liveable income?

    Taxation is the way we work together as a country to help those who are most in need. We want to know how politicians plan to make the system fairer. Better taxes are needed to gather the revenue needed to provide the health care, education and welfare support people need to live with dignity.

  2. Helping Children & Youth to Thrive

    We are asking politicians to explain what they will do to help children and youth to thrive.

    We are looking for actions that will keep reducing child poverty through extra help for low-income households with children and further steps to reduce food hardship.

    Youth mental distress has been increasing. We want to hear about actions to increase in low- or no-cost youth-focused mental health services, focused on the places where they are needed the most.

    Youth unemployment is still too high. We think every young person should leave school with a plan for their future. Politicians need to explain how they will help young people in the regions and communities most affected.

    Abuse and violence towards children is rising, with more than 2,000 violent offences resulting in injury last year. We want politicians to explain how they will support prevention approaches that work at community and family/whanau level in communities most affected.

  3. Homelessness & Housing Deprivation

    How do politicians plan to help the more than 100,000 people affected by homelessness or the threat of homelessness? Will politicians support more intensive housing case managers and fund innovative homelessness services? What is their plan to increase the number of community and public housing units?

    Homelessness and very high housing insecurity has huge impacts on the 150,000 people using our Salvation Army services each year. It has generational ramifications that go on for years.

    We also need ‘exit plans’ for people in transitional housing so they can find long-term affordable housing.

    Boarding houses are the headline example of housing distress. Will politicians commit to establishing a national register of boarding houses with clear regulations and licensing?

  4. Alcohol, Online Gambling and Financial Hardship

    Will politicians commit to action from government to reform alcohol laws, especially in areas around community participation, local alcohol policies, restricting advertising and excise tax on alcohol prices? Will there be better funding of all community addiction prevention and treatment services? Will online gambling receive effective regulation?

    Government action is needed to have a stronger harm prevention and minimisation focus on the regulation of gambling, including online gambling. Examples of this are credit card spending limits and strong restrictions of gambling advertising.

    We call for action to protect welfare payments from debt collectors by stopping deductions from welfare benefits. Attachment Orders take money from people who already do not have enough to live. Some people are experiencing major deductions from essential welfare support by private debt collectors. This is just one example of the financial pressures and manipulation people on the margins face in dealing with debt collectors and fringe lenders.

  5. Family Violence, Victims of Crime and the Remand Population

    As the spotlight on crime intensifies, familiar narratives of being ‘tough on crime’ echo across party lines. Does this tough stance translate to safer communities? Will politicians invest in specialised support for those impacted by family violence and particularly regarding immediate needs such as housing?

    A safer Aotearoa requires policies that delve into tackling drivers of crime, systemic issues and boosting rehabilitative and reintegration solutions.

    Family violence continues to be an endemic issue, with police attending a family harm incident every three minutes.

    Our justice system is not working for victims and often continues to perpetuate harm. Will the government invest in victim support advocates to assist victims in the system?

    The remand population continues to grow in our prisons: will the government invest in alternatives to custodial remand such as bail support services that aid individuals on bail?


The Pathways & Politics podcasts

Below are some episodes from our podcast Sleeves Rolled Up. These podcasts were recorded during election year 2023 and SPPU team members interviewed eight current Members of Parliament who identify as followers of the Christian faith. We asked them about their pathways in life, their faith and the issues they think are important for this year’s election. 


  1. Pathways & politics: my faith is about life with Labour MP Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki
  2. Pathways & politics: unwavering and uncompromising courage with National MP Melissa Lee
  3. Pathways & politics: Lord, show me where to go with Labour MP Dr Neru Leavasa
  4. Pathways & politics: from the seminary into politics with National MP Simon O’Connor
  5. Pathways & politics: the 1.5 generation with Labour MP Naisi Chen
  6. Pathways & politics: brave and curious, not fearful and suspicious with Labour MP Glen Bennett
  7. Pathways & politics: principled politics; standing firm for your values with National MP Simeon Brown
  8. Pathways & politics: faith, values, and politics with Labour MP Jamie Strange

Other podcasts


Make Sure You Vote

Voting in a General Election

The most important thing you can do this election is vote! Make sure you, your whānau and friends are enrolled and that they get out and vote on 14th October. Find out more on the Election 2023 vote.nz website



Better Taxes for a Better Future

Voting in a General Election

This is another part of the SPPU election advocacy work. It is the theme adopted by a coalition of NGOs who are calling for changes to the tax system that works for our people, those on the

margins who have little or no resources of their own.



Rhema Interviews

Voting in a General Election

At 11.15am each Thursday Andrew Urquhart will be interviewing SPPU team members about social issues in the lead up to Election 2023 


Māori Wellbeing: Gina Colvin-Ruwhiu Interview - YouTube

Online gambling, alcohol and drug addictions: Salvation Army 'Pressing Issues' Interview - YouTube

Wellbeing of children and youth, Salvation Army with election issues | On Mic - On Mic - Shine TV

The Economy - Panel Discussion | New Zealand Election 2023


Credits: Election photo supplied by the Electoral Commission and used with permission under the Creative Commons licence