Barry Soper: Labour pitches to help the homeless, again

Andrew Little announced the first of three announcements he's making on the housing in the coming days. Photo / George Novak
Andrew Little announced the first of three announcements he's making on the housing in the coming days. Photo / George Novak

It was 14 years ago when Helen Clark posed for the cameras and unveiled a plaque at Monte Cecilia House which sits on a street surrounded by former and current state houses in Mangere.

The photograph's been immortalised in the entrance foyer to the house which caters to the homeless, and it's always been chocka block with desperate families who are there for up to three months while their housing situation's sorted.

Monte Cecilia's obviously proud of its history because there's a much earlier photograph that forms the same narrative, of Phil Goff standing beside a Maori lady propping up a placard that reads: "Do your children have a home? Hundreds don't."

Andrew Little, celebrating Labour's 100th birthday today, seemed oblivious as he walked past both photos to announce the first of three announcements he's making on the housing in the coming days.

They're going to spend $60 million over their first four years, if they manage to make it on to the Treasury benches next year, making more places for the homeless.

And he too posed for the photographers and will no doubt become part of the narrative posted in the entrance foyer at the complex for the homeless.

Two women currently in situ with their kids were paraded before the media, exchanging the tales of their sad and desperate lives with the sympathetic Labour leader. As her story came to an end the second of the two raised her arm, turning her thumb and forefinger into an L, and booming out the word "Labour."

In Mangere Labour is the saviour but as the photographs on the wall would testify, saving those who fall through the cracks as the population rapidly expands, is not and never will be an overnight success story, regardless of which party pulls the purse strings.

- NZ Herald

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