Family First is calling for Crisis Call Centres to be established to assist families facing dire circumstances.
The call comes after the tragic death of South Auckland mother of four Folole Muliaga as a result of having the power disconnected, and an Auckland couple living in their burnt out home for more than three weeks with no power or hot running water while Housing New Zealand looked for emergency accommodation.
“It is totally unacceptable that families are facing situations like this, unaware of the resources and support available to them,” says Bob McCoskrie. “For many families, they don’t know where to turn to in desperate situations, and as a result are experiencing totally unnecessary hardship and unacceptable tragedy.”
Family First is concerned that a family of six were being threatened with living without power – a basic necessity of family life, without any obvious avenue of appeal to them, and without community and governmental agencies being alerted to the problem.
“We have hotlines for gambling, kids, graffiti, substance abuse, poison – even a pollution hotline – yet these two families obviously had no idea of where to turn to in their crisis. It is ludicrous that families feel that they can only go to the media or “Fair Go” to get any immediate action,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family Crisis Call Centres would assist families in desparate, overwhelming and even life threatening situations to get immediate attention from government agencies and community organisations.
“Families need to know that there is an agency which will respond immediately and appropriately to genuine cases of hardship and desperation, and will advocate for them with influence.”
“This may have been the role that many thought the Families and Children’s Commissioners would, and should, fulfill.”
“Families are our treasure. Healthy and stable family life is the cornerstone of strong societies. The test of a society is how we look after our poorest and most vulnerable.”
“In these two cases, we have failed.”