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Salvation Army wants social need addressed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017

The Salvation Army has outlined five initiatives it would like to see in Thursday's government budget.

The budget must reduce the level of social need in New Zealand, says Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Hutson, director of the army's social policy and parliamentary unit.

It was concerning that the number of people seeking help for housing, budgeting, drug addiction treatment and other services was increasing, he said.

"Changing the level of social need requires government assistance and we are keenly looking for budget initiatives that ensure this happens," Lt Col Hutson said.

Five initiatives he said were crucial in the budget were:

* An annual allocation of at least $500 million over the next 10 years to increase social and affordable housing

* $500m towards the restoration of the Working for Families programme back to 2009 levels

* An increased commitment to funding prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration, with the agreement that much of this work happens outside the prison gate

* Abandoning the plan to spend $1 billion on 1200 more prison beds

* A 10 per cent increase in alcohol taxes each year for the next three years, which will raise the prices of cheap liquor and therefore reduce harmful drinking.

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