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A Homeless Report – NZ Style

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 12:18 pm Mon 21st January 2019

When the Mayor of Auckland started the Mother-of-all Homeless-count during 2018, it followed along the lines of our historical perceptions – the old men and the occasional woman sleeping rough, usually with an alcohol problem and not keen on any help from the Salvation Army or these days a drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme.

We had a post here for followers to comment on (back in August) although this did not attract a great number of informative comments.

Amongst the modern homeless and less inclined to be referenced by politicians and media is a grey area between a home and the street (that which family and friends call a couch or a garage, a helping hand, an obligation to their own) where a growing number of people whether by choice or otherwise exist in a less acknowledged sector of society.

This particular report relates specifically to Northland only but no doubt there are variations of the theme throughout the provinces that others may be able to comment on.

There is a higher percentage of females in this group compared to the street dwelling park-campers – the ones who immediately attract media attention. Overtly lesbian couples in their 20’s sleeping in cars is not an unusual occurrence along with the gypsy-hippy style couples who would never afford campervans. But also solo mothers, driving reasonably modern dark-windowed vans with varying degrees of furniture in the back.

What catches my eye though, is how well behaved these children are, sitting quietly often not talking to each other, not attracting any unwanted attention, seen but definitely not heard.

Of course, there’s an element of fear and a reluctance to talk about personal positions in such situations … regardless of gender.

And fathers are out there too. Having their Xmas access with their children sleeping rough or now days should we expect to find a father and son spending a happy night in a car park beside some public toilets – precautionary training for the young man’s future when he finds himself in the same position.

Young men, quality wheels, good clothes, by day who knows, when they attend their semi-professional job, that at night, they sleep behind the wheel of their car, blended in with the transient population of tourists and shall we call them the mobile-homeless?

And you’d think no-one knew about this … but here’s a little snippet from the freedom camper’s brochure;

Driver Fatique
There is a difference between camping and resting on the road if you are tired. If you are too tired to keep driving, then please find a safe place to pull off the road and rest before moving on.

This is local body legislation, that at the moment attracts a $200.00 fine, being enforced by contracted security firms, (a civil policing unit) that wakes and moves the mobile-homeless during the night when found in a place that doesn’t tolerate their presence or from any freedom camper’s site, if they have over-stayed the 1-3 night restrictions.

It’s all very new to our way of life and raises yet to be answered questions;

Will the numbers increase?
Will this lead to confrontations between security firms and the mobile-homeless?
Are security firms being used because it’s not a criminal offence to sleep in a car in a public place?
And are we going to see a range of local body rules that are used mostly to move homeless New Zealand men rather than the tourists and freedom campers they supossedly relate to?

It’s getting a bit Roman isn’t it; demoted from citizen to tourist? Waving the big stick at anyone who dares be out of their home at night – it’s almost a curfew on vulnerable citizens with nowhere to go.

No doubt 2019 will expand on some of these questions, especially during winter.

What’s happening in your part of New Zealand … Had Enough of those transient good-for-nothing losers degrading your neighbourhood?


  1. To add to the list of the forgotten,,,, the numerous , now not so young, men having no choice to live at home, those , lucky???, enough to do so… a body of men in their prime putting aside their dignity, swallowing the pride they may still have in tact.

    As a parent of one of these guys it is not where we thought we would be, in NZ this was not considered at all normal and my father for instance has struggled to get his head around it.
    It is not plain sailing either.

    It is not just the cost of housing/renting, it is the lack of TWO, a couple could always make things work, you had each other to spur things on and keep your chin up and forge ahead as best you could, arm in arm, step by step, love conquered all.

    Comment by mama — Wed 23rd January 2019 @ 8:48 am

  2. Good point, mama.

    By comparison the cost of those existing outside the home there is an unregulated social cost affecting both local bodies and the state.

    In some cases there is cooperation between two or more people but in most cases these are individuals who have arrived at this point.

    The drug culture also has its tenticles floating through the picture and probably with more sucess than with an individual surviving amongst family.

    Comment by Downunder — Wed 23rd January 2019 @ 12:55 pm

  3. #1 also lost pride in many cases is unrecognised trauma, post situation stress.

    Often when you start to get the gist of the story their lack of self belief is a consequence of incompetent intervention.

    One failed person creating another.

    Comment by Downunder — Wed 23rd January 2019 @ 1:03 pm

  4. John Tamihere is saying he can lift the homeless from the streets in eighteen months, given heart plus the power I would hope this to be possible.
    In action is becoming a human fault, the cloud of individual shit is making people less pro active toward other people.
    Recently I became self employed in a business that I had history in a couple of decades ago. It is so much harder to communicate than back then, so to have an excellent stirrer for a major, oh sorry mayor, may be just what auckland requires.

    Comment by mama — Tue 29th January 2019 @ 9:06 am

  5. @mama #4
    Auckland Super City is a big organization, big employer, big business. Good intentions aside I doubt Tamihere would get the internal popular vote and he’d be an outside chance to come home a winner.

    That said the question of how homelessness occurs is more likely to be considered a national problem rather than a local problem and the big increase is more likely to come in a less traditional scenario.

    Inaction as you say is a problem even within the media. They’re yet to get on the same page as this post and realise the extent of the transient population – they only want the quick fix story, they’re not prepared to dig in for a couple of months and turn up any reasonable assessment of reality.

    We’ll see people going head to head with councils over the issues around public space. That’s something that is starting to occur now that I haven’t included above. This throws a different set of circumstances around councils to what you’re talking about above.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st January 2019 @ 8:47 pm

  6. hey there,,, Mr Downunder, right about the likes of Tamihere you may be, but I fear this is a time of spitting tacks, I see them spilling all over the motorway, especially whilst passing the god damned cycle way,,,,this is a time for giving the fingers and forging through the petty beaurocracy for humans sake,,,not the slow meandering face time roll call people are being fed but still left wanting….give us a politician that does not smile when speaking,,please….someone to both pull finger and give it as well an aw.

    Comment by mama — Thu 31st January 2019 @ 9:34 pm


    With rents as high as they are.
    He probably can’t even afford rent.

    As a kid I remember small houses, essentially just a room.
    The must have had communal showers, toilet.

    Out of a factory, they would be dirt cheap to make.
    Put it on 50 square meters, or 200 homes on 1 Ha.

    There government, emergency houses.
    For the homeless.


    A $500,000 section, 550 square meters.
    10 mini homes, and one amenities block.
    Say $10,000 for the mini house build.
    So $100,000 amenities block, or $10,000 each.
    Or 50k, plus 10k, plus 10k duals $70,000 mini homes.

    So interest, plus payments, at 10%.
    $7000 year, or $135 week.
    Obviously it can be less.

    There is no homeless problem.
    There is a landlords first problem.
    Government could solve homelessness.
    In just a few years, with small investments.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Fri 25th June 2021 @ 7:55 pm

  8. Yeah, Umbrage was taken at my homeless reporting. I even had the police set upon me to shut me up.

    But I’ll be honest and say, the more desperate, hopeless cases are gone, somewhere, because I’m not seeing them.

    But while the organised on the road livers are battling the authorities over public space, the big increase is in van dwellers.

    Mostly men, with a bedroom in the back seat are everywhere.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 26th June 2021 @ 7:25 am

  9. There are thousands (tens of thousands) of people around the country living a fuel and gas dependent lifestyle with some solar power backup.

    The first major fuel shortage? Yeah. That’s going to be a problem.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Sat 26th June 2021 @ 10:05 am

  10. This is a good look at homeless people.
    Living out of a car.
    And shows some positive sides to doing it.
    And talks about the finances.

    I haven’t seen recent statistics.
    But the last said 90% were male.
    So a very relevant subject for men.

    This is a choice for her.
    Should could live, to the cultural norm.
    Rent, and be poor.

    So good on her for her choice.
    She has freedom, things are going well.
    In some ways, inspiring.


    What then of the situation, forced on the male.
    Ejected from the family home.

    If he works for minimum wage, $800 a week.
    First they take taxes.
    As well as Child Support.
    Then costs of life.

    What then is the rent on a reasonable home.
    So they qualify, passing the good enough test.
    Would they then have nothing left, just to see the children.

    Is even being a parent, beyond reach.
    Is the homeless male in his car, choice.
    Or like the female, in the article.

    Rejecting something.
    Rejecting society, its culture.
    Because it fails people.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Wed 29th September 2021 @ 12:40 pm

  11. There’s many ways to approach this and we are often still on the previous disaster.

    If you went back to 2004 contract workers particularly in the construction industry became child support defaulters between contracts simply because they were workers not businessmen.

    We have family men now who will take a contact and drive to work early on a Monday morning, go to work, sleep in their vehicle for 4 nights and drive home again Friday night.

    It maintains their dignity, supports their family but they are homeless vehicle dwellers for the best part of any normal week.

    It’s not uncommon for crew on fishing boats to be at home on a boat but homeless on shore. Not that they can’t afford accommodation but it makes no sense to pay ludicrous amounts of money for something you aren’t using all the time.

    Similar to what this girl says. I was living at work to pay for crap that I hardly saw.

    However you look at it we’ve had this developing problem for 2 decades.

    Comment by Downunder — Wed 29th September 2021 @ 4:24 pm

  12. @10

    Would you still call a vehicle an asset?

    Anyone in business in the last 30 years post Rogernomics …

    Would more likely call it a period of liability.

    A bit like a solo mother thinking the appliances will never wear out.

    But ownership of my space and the perception of security and in a van in the middle of nowhere that is a perception but it’s a nice thought and a lifestyle while it lasts.

    But how many people have jumped into this option and how long can it last?

    Comment by Evan Myers — Wed 29th September 2021 @ 9:23 pm

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