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Government’s priorities are questionable

Excitement is growing around the globe in anticipation of July’s 2024 Paris Olympics – officially known as the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad – but with it has already come a swarm of controversy.

This year will mark the third time that Paris has hosted the Olympic Games, with the most recent being a century ago in 1924.

The city of Paris itself is already home to 2.16 million people and The New York Times has noted an estimated 15 million people are expected to visit the ‘City of Love’ during the Games, which will run from July 26 to August 11.

Ahead of the event, the terror alert level in France has been escalated to the highest alert setting possible and claims of “social cleansing” have been published by several French media outlets.

These claims relate to the 150,000 people currently living in temporary accommodation and the treatment of an estimated 3000 people who live on the streets of Paris.

The reported “social cleansing” of Parisian streets has included police allegedly forcibly removing all those people in temporary accommodation, as well as dismantling tents and structures built by those who sleep on the street.

Critics have said this social cleansing is an attempt to hide the city’s booming poverty crisis and question the French government prioritising spending 8.8 billion Euros on the Olympics when they have this growing issue to deal with.

You might be thinking, why should we care about homeless people in Paris when we have homeless here in New Zealand to think about? Because the question about priorities is equally applicable here.

The latest statistics on homelessness in New Zealand suggest that over 100,000 people nationwide are experiencing homelessness and hundreds of Kiwi families are living in temporary accommodation.

The National Party built its election campaign on the promise of tax cuts to help some New Zealanders – with criticisms that perhaps those benefiting from the largest tax cuts aren’t necessarily those that need it.

The cost of living crisis [and it is a crisis] is a global issue that’s not unique to New Zealand but is seemingly hitting some Kiwi families harder than others.

Widespread redundancies won’t help tackle the crisis, yet at the same time as public service job cuts are underway, the government is promising to get more people into work rather than relying on benefits.

With a widespread housing crisis, Kiwis are doing it tougher than ever, but those of us who are experiencing homelessness have seemingly been left out in the cold.

At least most of those in Paris have been offered accommodation in other parts of the country, while New Zealand remains in a crisis of its own.

It’s farcical to say that those experiencing homelessness simply need to get into a job while jobs are quickly becoming harder and harder to come by.

The government needs to take a long hard look at the policies they’ve decided to push through under ‘urgency’ given few of us actually appear to benefit from them.

Rather than focusing on policies that give an extra $20 a fortnight to some families, or planning to hold a referendum on Te Tiriti O Waitangi, perhaps it’s time the government focuses attention on those who need it most.

At least we can say that aren’t spending $8.8 billion on the Olympics, I guess…

1 COMMENT

  1. How do you think we got to state 🤔 🙄. The past government policies I never heard or read complaints like what is happening now 🤔. Just back off and let this government try and get us out of the SH_T THE LAST GOVERNMENT PUT US IN.

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