Barry Soper: Political grandstanding in the carpark

Setima Autagavaia, 4, in the back of his family vehicle for Park Up for Homes in Mangere Town Centre car park. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Setima Autagavaia, 4, in the back of his family vehicle for Park Up for Homes in Mangere Town Centre car park. Photo / Jason Oxenham

So if you were passing the Mangere Town Centre carpark last night and saw a few flasher cars amongst the makeshift house-cars the homeless are sleeping in, they would have been occupied by the Labour/Green family.

Yes, some politicians decided to show solidarity with those who park-up because they don't have their own drive to park in.

Within an hour of The Greens' Marama Davidson putting out a press statement saying she was going to spend the night in her car to show the homeless that she cares, and that she's going to do everything she can to speak out and speak up for them, Labour had outbid her.

Three of their MPs were rugged up in their cars overnight, saying they want the Beehive to hear the message loud and clear that it's unacceptable and totally wrong that they've created an environment where families with children are forced to sleep in cars.

Martin Luther Cunliffe may be ashamed of being a man but he's not too proud to spend a night in his car, it seems. It was likely parked some distance away from the local MP, Su'a William Sio's saloon for the night though, who apparently had a shout-out snout, a snore that even the best car stereo wouldn't be able to silence.

This is political grandstanding, if it wasn't they'd be kipping down away from the media glare rather than drawing attention to their sacrifice, right down to the location and time of their carpark sleep over.

But they claim they're drawing attention to the problem which presumes we've all had our heads buried in the sand in recent weeks, drowning out their constant howls about housing.

It's just plain silly to say, as they have been, that a Government, regardless of its political hue, doesn't care about the homeless.

The Clark Labour Government cared about it as well.

A snapshot of the problem, seven years into her Government, showed almost 34 thousand people were listed as severely deprived when it came to housing while those without a roof over their heads numbered about five thousand.

Fifteen percent of those facing deprivation lived in the street or in impoverished or mobile dwellings, including cars.

The finger pointing gets us nowhere and MPs, rather than sleeping in cars, should wake up and work together to come up with a solution.

The reality is though that there are only so many houses that can be built in a day.

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