Towns throughout NZ worried about drugs and housing crisis

8:13 am on 12 December 2018

People in working class communities are most concerned about the effects of drug abuse and the housing crisis on their neighbourhoods.

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Several towns throughout the country expressed their concern about drug abuse in their community. Photo:

The Salvation Army said these social problems are holding back communities from thriving and it's calling on the government to help fix the problem.

The organisation interviewed more than 600 people on the streets of Kaitaia, Whangarēi, Manurewa, New Plymouth, Hornby and Timaru for its State of our Communities report, released today.

When asked what the they would say if they could talk to the prime minister about their community, people in the six communities raised serious concerns about drugs, housing, lack of mental health services and economic problems that were holding back their neighbourhoods.

Salvation Army policy analyst Ronji Tanielu said the report gives marginalised communities a voice.

"There were some real thriving communities but they all acknowledged that there were some massive social challenges that were facing their communities. One that was extremely consistent was the damage of drugs, especially methamphetamine," Mr Tanielu said.

He said there was also a lot of pride in the communities and people were working hard to find solutions to the social problems.

"What we hear from this report is loud and clear - to be strong communities requires more housing, a stronger effort to rid neighbourhoods of drug abuse and a more consultative approach when government provides developments, housing, infrastructure and services so meeting the broad needs of the community."

The Salvation Army will share the findings of its report with the government.

It's first State of our Communities report last year covered Linwood in Christchurch, Papakura and Porirua.