Liam Bateman writes.
As some of you may or may not know, as well as being a committed member of the Labour Party, I am also a part of the Salvation Army church and still actively take part in their charity work today. What some of you may not know is that the Salvation Army also has a Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, which makes submissions on legislation and participates in political discussion. They have taken stands on many issues including the SkyCity deal, the youth minimum wage, drink driving limits and more.
But until recently, I was disappointed with the stance the Sallies had taken on the state housing issue. At the end of 2014, director of the SPPU and good friend of mine, Major Campbell Roberts retired as director and was replaced by Major Sue Hay. Whilst Campbell continued to act as a senior advisor, I was concerned about the direction Sue was taking. When I heard she applauded the initiative, I was not happy at all and believed she was going to move the Unit to the right.
I am strongly opposed to the deal and see it as privatisation by stealth and see it as a middle finger to the legacy of Michael J Savage and Peter Fraser, who built these houses when New Zealand was suffering the Great Depression. These houses remain one of Labour’s great legacies to New Zealand as well as NZ’s nuke free policy.
But today’s announcement has brought me a sigh of relief and restored my trust in the SPPU. Campbell Roberts announced today that the Sallies would not support the selloff and would not accept any state housing. Andrew Little applauded the decision and says that the deal is now in tatters. He too was met with applause on Monday night at an Auckland Labour meeting when he made reference to the decision.
John Key must be red in the face right now. March is definitely not a month to be a member of the National Party. With scandal after scandal coming out and Winston Peters set to turn Northland black, John has so much egg on his face. And to have one of the most well known charities in the country reject a policy like that is further fuel to the fire of Key’s embarrassment.
I want to end by congratulating Campbell on the announcement and for standing up to this rotten Tory government. May the Sallies continue to march on and stand up for what is right: social solutions to social problems.