Topics:Demographics and societyEconomy, business and industryEducation and skillsHousingQuality of lifeTransport
The State of the Nation report this year is the eleventh report The Salvation Army’s Social Policy Parliamentary Unit has completed. New Zealand as a nation has changed in many ways over this time and each of these reports have served as markers along the way. In this report, we have analysed the 2017 year, measuring the key social indicators, as previously, but we have also endeavoured to look back over 10 years to provide an indicator of social progress over a more extended period of time.
This report has the key theme ‘Kei a Tātou’, or in English— ‘It is us’. For many of us, the statistical information provided can seem somewhat technical, theoretical and separated from our lived realities. However, behind these statistics are people—women, men, children, families and communities— sometimes thriving and in rude health, while on other occasions they are isolated, living with extreme levels of stress, in poverty and highly marginalised.
The story that emerges out of these reports is not something abstract and external to us—it is us, Kei a Tātou. As a society, a nation, we are intimately connected to each other in a relationship of belonging, so those that stumble or fall outside the margins are part of us. We are not isolated individuals, and collectively we can impact on the maladies that afflict our society and we can affect positive
The things we bother to count are an indication of what we think is important. They can be used powerfully to focus us, to enable us to address the social ills that blight our communities. For example, the frequent, almost daily, note taken of our road toll helps galvanise the nation in a commendable and largely successful attempt to reduce the waste of so many lives. Campaigns are carried out and substantial resources are committed to this endeavour. Other equally painful social disasters often appear to fall outside a similarly focused approach—such as the alarmingly high rate of suicides referred to in this report. In comparison, suicide sometimes seems to fly under the radar of our collective consciousness and begs for a comparably focused communal response.
We hope that this year’s report will enable us to celebrate genuine social progress where it has occurred, and to galvanise us into committed, collective responses where there is evidence that people are falling behind. After all— Kei a Tātou—it is us.
Finally, after 10 years of producing the State of the Nation we are re-evaluating this annual report. Is it time to change it in any way? Has it served its purpose? Can the information be presented in a different and more effective way? Your feedback is appreciated as we consider the future of our State of the Nation report.