Kate Hawkesby: Why John Tamihere's petty homelessness policy won't work

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Monday, 12 August 2019, 12:07PM
John Tamihere's latest policy is just an attention seeking stunt. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Possibly one of the reasons no-one bothers to vote in local body elections, is because they’re so damn petty. And because many of the issues raised are far fetched and ridiculous.

Yesterday’s announcement from Auckland mayoral hopeful John Tamihere being case and point. 

John Tamihere says as Mayor (which I’m prepared to wager he won’t be) he’d create an 0800 JACINDA hotline for people to call if they see rough sleepers or beggars.

There’s so much wrong with this idea already, but wait, there’s more.  

Tamihere actually wants not only someone at the end of the phone line 24/7, but also one to one social workers available to attend to every homeless person - whether the homeless person wants it or not.

The net result being getting the homeless person into social housing – which the Council will build in conjunction with central government.

So here we have, what? Phil Twyford 2.0?

It’s hard to know where to start with this but let’s start with the number.

0800 Jacinda is stupid. It’s a cheap dig at the PM in what I assume is an attempt to make his point that homelessness is a central government issue.

To also, I assume, mark his territory as a different political force to Phil Goff. In a bid to distance himself from his old party.

The next crazy part is social workers available round the clock taking calls and rushing out to assist homeless people. How’s he achieving that? By making social workers work all hours.

He said he would force social workers to change their work hours to work three shifts, because “they need to wake up to the fact social work’s a 24/7 job”.

Wow, take that social workers. Ouch. Way to get social workers on board, insult them.

He also claims there’s enough social workers to deal with the numbers of homeless, but also points out no one knows the exact numbers on homeless, so I’m not sure how you make that equation work, but it sounds Twyford-esque to me. So far, so nutty.

He goes on to state he doesn’t know, or need to know, where the rough sleepers are.

So here, roughly eight weeks out from the local body elections, we have another policy announcement, which can really only be viewed one way - as an attention seeking stunt.

It’s an attempt to get more headlines. I guess it worked, because here I am talking about it.

But what it’s also done is solidify in the mind of this Auckland local body voter that anyone petty enough to come up with an 0800 JACINDA number, doesn’t get my vote.

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