Give homeless basic human rights | The Jackal

24 Sept 2014

Give homeless basic human rights

We should all know by now that the government doesn't much like poor people. In fact much of National's first and second terms in power were dedicated to persecuting the poor, who for obvious reasons cannot easily defend themselves.

The consequences of the government's war on the poor are more homeless people on our streets, inequality and let's face it suffering. That's the result of the National parties neoliberal agenda, a country divided and consequently weakened.

Today, Radio NZ provided yet another example of National's heartlessness:

Homeless banned from gathering

People sleeping rough in abandoned buildings in Christchurch are being ordered to stay away from the people they were caught with.

Up to 10 homeless people were arrested over the weekend for being unlawfully in an abandoned building and were issued with non-association orders by the Christchurch District Court.

The homeless people say they know they're breaking the law but when bad weather hits, there's no where else to go.

Not only is the government failing these people by not having any facilities available to properly house them, they're trying to ensure that they aren't even allowed to find shelter themselves. That's not the New Zealand I grew up in, and it certainly isn't the New Zealand we should be accepting as the new normal.

The abandoned houses these homeless people are using have no other function. So why not designate some of them as homeless shelters once any safety precautions are taken? It's not as if these homeless people have the funds to compete in the terribly expensive Christchurch rental market, so there really should be no objection.

Every Tuesday lunchtime and Thursday night the city's homeless gather to receive food, blankets and clothing from charities and volunteer groups.

But those issued with non-association orders, say it makes these gatherings hard because they are at risk of breaching the order and being arrested.

Police say the non-association order is to stop people committing crimes with the same group.

If it were obeyed, the non-association order would also stop people gaining nourishment, which makes the court's decision and the Police's enforcement of it incomprehensibly stupid! Has New Zealand become such a cold and heartless country that the state would try to put a halt to people even accessing food?

It's bad enough that the Police are impeding people from accessing shelter or having friends, but when orders are made to inhibit struggling people from sustaining themselves with the help of charities, then the state has gone way too far.

Unfortunately I doubt that things will improve anytime soon either, being that the National party has no moral compass to speak of. Their core supporters seem to even enjoy watching the suffering of others, which makes them look rather unpatriotic to say the very least.

It would be great if the National party pulled their heads out of the sand and actually did something about the housing crisis in New Zealand instead of actively making it worse and then persecuting those caught up by the government's social policy failure.