August 25, 2017
Suicides highlight far north emergency
A far north social entrepreneur says the area’s high suicide rate is a symptom of a community in crisis, and a state of emergency needs to be declared.
Ricky Houghton heads He Korowai Trust, which runs a range of services including providing emergency housing at a former Kaitaia hotel.
He says the national allocation for Maori housing is a fraction of what goes into Christchurch, and too much of the funding gets swallowed up in compliance costs.
A state of emergency would allow some of those rules to be relaxed and means the community could get some of the support it needs to fix deep-seated problems like poor housing, unemployment and the highest youth suicide rate in the country.
"Our young people feel doomed. They feel lost, hopeless. We are trying to turn that hopelessness into hope but we need to roll our sleeves up. A state of emergency will allow us to do what we need to do as a community," Mr Houghton says.
He Korowai Trust intends to start a trade training academy next year and is also setting up companies to generate work.
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