From the Director - Introduction | The Salvation Army

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From the Director - Introduction

The theme of this year’s report is ‘Ngā Tukunga Iho’—translated ‘The Things We Inherit’.

Aotearoa New Zealand now looks back on 2023 as a point of transition. With the recent elections now in our rear-view mirror, we need to take a careful look at where we find ourselves—beyond the emotive cries of disaster, overblown pictures of achievements and unrealistic or simplistic promises and solutions for entrenched problems.

We have a new government that cannot take credit for the positive developments outlined in this report or be blamed for the disturbing developments that have taken place over the last one to three years. However, this report provides a marker point. For The Salvation Army, our primary focus is on the most marginalised, including the 150,000 people who access our services annually. The report is an indication of what we as a people, along with our government, have inherited to this point. It will also serve as a measure of the new government’s performance over the next two to three years. It is about people—beyond the economy, GDP or inflation. It is about how our people are doing.

Among many other things, The Salvation Army asks these questions:

  • Will child poverty continue to decline—markers of which have shown good progress over the last few years?
  • Will unemployment remain comparatively low as it has to this point in time? Will the unacceptably high level of unemployment among the 15- to 25-year-old age group continue?
  • Will we see more of our whānau attain affordable housing, or continue to struggle to pay rents and find housing—as too many still do now?
  • Will the victims of crime receive the support they need? Will the real drivers of crime be dealt with? Can the high level of the reoffending of released prisoners be further reduced with the right reintegration support?

Over the last 20 or so years, the economy has been through its up and downs. However, over that time, the gap between the rich and poor has remained too high. Encouragingly, over the last few years we have seen a reduction in income inequality. Will the new government build on this progress, or will we see renewed increases in inequality?

This report is a marker. Let us work for social progress for our whānau and keep our eyes on how our people are doing.

Lt-Colonel Ian Hutson


The Salvation Army—Te Ope Whakaora, the Army that brings life— is working every day with communities, whānau and individuals right around the country. In this report, the wellbeing of our nation is assessed by looking at outcomes that impact people and communities. We look at measures across the following areas: Children and Youth, Work and Incomes, Housing, Crime and Punishment, and Social Hazards, as well as assessing all these areas through a specific focus on outcomes for Māori, using He Ara Waiora wellbeing framework.

The aim of this report is to focus on trends and outcomes at a national level to see what they can tell us about the overall state of our nation at the beginning of 2024. The statistics and data are mostly drawn from publicly available sources, and we aim to use the most recently available indicators for the year to 31 December 2023.

The indicators in each section are grouped into themes, and an assessment is made as to whether there is overall improvement (+), no change (NC) or deterioration (). NA indicates data is unavailable.

These assessments are intended to promote debate and discussion about our progress towards greater wellbeing.


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Sections: Home | Introduction | Children & Youth | Work and Incomes | Housing | Crime and Punishment | Social Hazards | Māori Wellbeing 

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