The recent Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland Mayoral Election Forum, held in St Matthew’s-in-the-City in Auckland on 15 September, was organised by two groups advocating for the wider Auckland community: the Living Wage movement and Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga. These are two community alliances which operate on what is known as a broad-based community model of advocacy—faith groups, unions and other community groups together. The Salvation Army participated with the Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga alliance which was advocating for decent housing, while the Living Wage movement was advocating for the Living Wage for council, workers and their contractors.
The four mayoral candidates heard from a variety of speakers with experiences of poverty related to low wages and poor and insecure housing or homelessness. This was followed by key asks from the speakers to the majoral candidates. Representing Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga, Lt-Colonel Ian Hutson, director of the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit at The Salvation Army, had three main asks for the candidates: first, for Auckland Council to adopt the ‘ríght to a decent home’; second, to establish a coordination group made up of council and Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga representatives, to ensure the right to a decent home is upheld and progress reports are produced; and last, having this group help the council investigate and report on providing healthy rental homes on council land, and supporting Māori housing initiatives.
All of the Mayoral candidates verbally agreed to the housing asks proposed by Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga and signed a commitment.
The Salvation Army will continue to work in partnership with Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga in following through with the Auckland City Council and the newly elected mayor, to see that all is done to ensure that marginalised people of Auckland get the decent and secure housing they need.