Off the track. State of the nation report 2017

Alan Johnson
Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit
Publication date:

From the Introduction:

This is the 10th State of the Nation report from The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit. The report is produced each year to provide a marker of how New Zealand is doing as a nation. It is intended to stand alongside other oft-referenced indicators that serve to identify how our nation is doing economically. Economic reports are important in identifying one measure of how well we are doing as a country, but they cannot fully capture what is happening in the lives of ordinary New Zealanders at a social and personal level.

In measuring data around the five key areas of Our Children, Crime and Punishment, Work and Incomes, Social Hazards, and Housing, the State of the Nation report gives an indication of how we are progressing socially—and how this relates to economic trends.

The title of this year’s report is Off the Track. It draws on the picture of the tramping tracks so familiar to many Kiwis. Walking these tracks requires frequent checking of maps and track markers to ensure the trail is not lost. Failure to do so in the New Zealand bush can carry significant and sometimes tragic consequences.

In the context of this report, ‘off the track’ reflects a sense that many of the markers routinely analysed for the State of the Nation report currently suggest we are not heading in the best direction for New Zealand as a whole. There are some undeniably positive signs, such as rising employment and wage growth, reduction in youth offending and a falling teenage pregnancy rate. However, in some of our most critical areas the nation appears to have stalled or even gone backwards. In publishing this report, The Salvation Army wishes to particularly highlight the following areas:
• seemingly entrenched rates of child poverty and child abuse
• the burgeoning incarceration rates of prisoners, along with high recidivism rates
• an alarming lack of safe, affordable housing that has resulted in a level of homelessness not seen in New Zealand in the lifetime of most Kiwis. ... 

See also, the Salvation Army website,


Last updated: 2017-02-08