We are recently informed that the National Government has arranged with a religious organisation to take over the running and administration of NZ Government’s social housing just as they did in withdrawing problem gambling care and administration from a NGO and re-allocating it to that same religious organisation. The Government withdrew the major part of the problem gambling from the non-religious NZ Problem Gambling Assn, a NGO for problem gambling support. It was to be handed over to the same religious Church as Social Housing.
Again, this is classical neoliberal economics and philosophy in action where Government seeks to divest itself of its involvement in the lives and what it perceives as needless contacts with the citizens. Some of our schools and child education is also being given over to religious organisations as Charter Schools.
Is Creationism now to be on the required curriculum for those Church administered schools possibly excluding or downgrading the importance of, say, Evolutionary Theory and Science)?
This divestment is in accordance with the Nats’ Neoliberal agenda and theories, some early foundations of which date back to the early Greek times of Democrates. More recently, advocates for that approach were Adam Smith (1723-1790) and, in the mid nineteenth century UK, of John Mill, John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) (John Stuart was his son), their contemporary and friend, Jeremy Bentham. Even more recently, another prominent protagonist of those theories was Austrian, Frederich Hayek (1899-1992). For more information about the economic and political philosophies of those people, you could Google or consult their Wikipedia listings.
The (Neo) Liberal political theory(capital ‘L’ Liberal), in effect, was to give people as much freedom as possible by withdrawing or minimizing Government involvement in the citizens’ lives and, thereafter, to just manage the money and economy.
Though, perhaps, with well meaning intentions Neo Liberalism has, historically, socially and economically, had some unfortunate side effects better described at greater length by other writers and academics in social welfare and economics writings on the topic. The National Party in handing formerly administered NZ Government agencies and resources over to churches and NGOs and selling State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) is implementing that Liberalist political theory in activist action.
One incident with that same church organisation cited above that occurred recently to a New Zealand university Social Work student (straight, NOT gay) who was reportedly failed for their University drug and alcohol coursework internship/placement. The student was failed by that organisation and the University by adding defensively supportive allegations?) claims alleging that the student helped a gay man after being assigned that client and instructed by the Church Social Worker supervisor to help the client person.
Sounds incredible, doesn’t it, it is true that such discrimination does still occur in New Zealand and, variously, on religious, homophobic, ageist and physical disability grounds. One NZ sixty five year old Masters degree Social Work student, with hip and spine osteoarthritis but otherwise quite mobile with a walking cane, was told by a supervisor that they were not healthy enough to be training for Social Work. The student was assigned a special needs school placement that required the student to participate in sporting activities…….
One also hopes and wonders, in the NZ social housing schema, that, say, gay/lesbian couples and their children or those with disabilities, other religious beliefs will not receive any such unfortunate discrimination. Whether covert or overt, when it comes to the allocation and administration of that social housing by religious organisations or others charged with administering and allocating former NZ Government resources and agencies, they will be selected on the basis of their need only.
A letter to the international head office overseas of that Church enquiring about their official policy on helping homosexual people was not given the dignity of an acknowledgement of the enquiry directed to them. One suspects they they did not wish to disclose or discuss the existence (at that recent time, of course) of any such homophobic discrimination policy.
The authors of those post have some concerns, perhaps unfounded, that a born-again, card carrying and religious or homophobic zealot staffer, with their fundamentalist Christian or with other beliefs, might believe they must discriminate against those whom they perceive as homosexual, non-Christians or those whom might be, (currently newsworthy and is topical, Islam) as Moslems, Jewish or many other faiths. Any non NZ cultural mainstream faiths might be perceived as unsuitable tenants. Islam, for example, is a wonderful, caring, religion sharing MANY exactly similar historical and biblical beliefs as with Christian doctrine.
The point of all of the above (supportive outside source report documents are available) is there is a risk that organisations or their staffer zealots might want to obfuscate, or covertly prevent, access to the available social housing? Is discrimination by those whom they, or their religious organisation, perceives as not suitable on the above personal, religious, ethnicity or sexuality criteria likely to restrict entry as desirable and suitable tenants?