'We’ve got it wrong' - WINZ apologises to young family with baby for refusing emergency accommodation

Work and Income has fronted up and apologised to a young family with a baby who were denied emergency accommodation despite being homeless.

Social agencies say this is another heartless response from a system that is supposed to help out the most vulnerable.

Nine-month-old Shakana and her teenage parents have just been able to move into a motel unit.

“This is something that we never thought we’d get,” says mum Meinga Tawhai.

“I explained to her if you can’t help me then I’m homeless with my baby, my partner” says dad Te Huru Wiki.

“There was no remorse she didn’t really care.”

Work and Income fronted up to apologised today.

 “We’ve got it wrong,” says regional commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development Mark Goldsmith.

“We should’ve given them emergency housing grant right up front. Unfortunately we didn’t and we’ve apologised for that.”

These actions have been a stark contrast to what was promised by Jacinda Ardern.

“Provide for those who are in need. That is what our social services are there for,” she said in an earlier statement.

“It’s very unfit for a government that talks about compassion and kindness to have their government agencies not help people who are about to be homeless,” says Ricardo Menéndez from group Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP).

The family was initially forced out of a relative’s state house because of overcrowding.

Te Huru Wiki then had his benefit cut for not turning up to a budgeting course.

“I don’t get enough money to travel,” he says.

Despite telling WINZ his circumstances, staff who had discretion refused to help until AAAP stepped in.

“Without the intervention of advocates people like them and many others are constantly being left on the streets without the assistance they require,” says Menéndez.

Work and income are now reviewing what went wrong and what improvements can be made to its systems.

“There’s actually significant work being undertaken right now,” says Goldsmith.

“It’s around asking the right questions and understanding the client a lot better.”

The young parents hope that by speaking out, others will get the help they need.

They are currently aiming to get their lives back on track.

Nine-month-old Shakana and her teen parents were facing living on the streets, until Auckland Action Against Poverty stepped in. Source: 1 NEWS



Owner of dog who became internet sensation after Kawakawa escape speaks with Seven Sharp

A Bay of Islands woman told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp she is "never going to live this down" after footage of her rescue dog Lily dragging a bakery's flag down the main street of Kawakawa went viral around the globe.

CCTV footage of the freedom-seeking furball's runner — accompanied by Yakety Sax, the song made famous by the Benny Hill Show — has been viewed more than 500,000 times since it was posted to Facebook last night.

Lucie Green, a volunteer with Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, was taking the basset hound for a walk last week when she decided to stop at a local business to buy Lily a treat.

The basset hound, named Lily, was tied to a large flag outside a dairy. So she took the flag with her on her wild escape. Source: Facebook/James Mcdonald

But the Basset Hound received a fright and bolted despite being tied to a large Coca-Cola flag forcing Lucie to give chase.

"For an animal with just little legs, my god she can run," Lucie told Seven Sharp.

Lily, Lucie and the rogue flag brought Kawakawa's State Highway 1 strip to a standstill, the whole escapade captured on CCTV.

"My partner owns a local CCTV company I got to the office and I told him what had happened.

"He didn't tell me he'd done it, but he edited footage and put the music on and uploaded it to Facebook and tagged me in it.

"I knew it was trouble when basically by the time we'd gone to bed last night it had hit 100,000 views," Lucie said.

The basset hound, named Lily, was tied to a large flag outside a dairy. So she took the flag with her on her wild escape. Source: Facebook/James Mcdonald

Thousands of people have since commented on the video, with many of them admiring the dog’s spirit.

"I'm laughing my guts out it's so funny," wrote Facebook user Annie Hicks.

Lucie does see the funny side of events however.

"They say every dog has their day, so I guess Lily is enjoying her 15 mins of fame." 

Lily made a run for it when owner Lucie Green stopped at a shop in the Northland town. Source: Seven Sharp


Tracking down New Plymouth youth MP candidates after Andrew Little's 'hip' appeal

Labour MP Andrew Little released a tongue in cheek video encouraging young people from New Plymouth to get involved in politics today.

The video inspired TVNZ1's Seven Sharp to travel to Mr Little's old school to find the perfect candidate for its new youth MP.

Judge for yourself if New Plymouth Boys' High students Thomas Foy and Jarrod Wilson have what it takes in the video above.

Tamati Rimene-Sproat is on the case after the Labour MP's piece of political theatre. Source: Seven Sharp

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Watch: Take a tour inside Kate Sheppard’s former house where suffragists worked to get women the right to vote

Suffragist Kate Sheppard's old house in Christchurch goes up for auction next month - so Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry took a tour.

Ms Sheppard was instrumental in gaining New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893. She carried out important work for the suffrage movement in the house during the late 19th Century.

Today saw celebrations around the country marking 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern has indicated the Government is interested in buying the house for the nation. It's expected to fetch in excess of $3 million when it goes under the hammer on October 17.

Hilary Barry met with the home's current owner Julia Burbury who showed her around the dwelling set on one acre of gardens.

The house has a category one heritage listing.

The piece of New Zealand history in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million, is up for auction. Source: Seven Sharp


Mum distraught as son turned away from Hutt Valley High School because he didn't have permanent address

Being homeless has become an obstacle for one mother wanting to give her child an education.

Helen Taitapanui and her son were turned away from Hutt Valley High School last week because they don't have a permanent residential address.

Ms Taitapanui, is currently battling cancer and lives in a motel with her teenage son while they wait for a permanent home.

"We've got to be glad that we've got that when we know that a lot of our families are out there living in cars," Ms Taitapanui told 1 NEWS.

However, this was a problem when she tried to enrol her son at a local school.

"The response was it's against their policy to register children living out of a motel. you had to have a residential address," Ms Taitapanui said.

She complained to the Ministry of Education and shortly after Hutt Valley High School reversed its decision.

Ms Taitapanui says her son's excited about going back to school.

"I know once he steps back into the realm of education he'll be well and truly away."

She hopes by speaking out, another unnecessary obstacle will be removed for the homeless.

Being homeless threw up an unexpected obstacle for a mum wanting to educate her child. Source: 1 NEWS