Report reveals deprivation

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 11:23 21/05/2014

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Marlborough residents appear to be living relatively comfortably, but there are deep pockets of deprivation in Seddon and areas of Blenheim, an academic report has revealed.

The New Zealand deprivation index showed Seddon and Mayfield in Blenheim were the most socioeconomically deprived areas.

The index used data from the 2013 census to provide a scale of deprivation with one being the least deprived and 10 being the most deprived. Academics looked at the indicators of internet access, income, unemployment, qualifications, home ownership and access to a car.

Seddon had jumped two deprivation points to nine on the deprivation scale. Mayfield was also on nine. The least deprived areas of Marlborough were Rapaura, Fairhall and Riverlands.

The average personal income in Seddon was $21,600, while Mayfield's average income was $24,000.

Report author and Otago University academic Prof Peter Crampton said the index drew interesting conclusions.

"Marlborough is relatively well off. There is an increasing divide between the haves and the have nots."

Crampton said there was a growing divide between urban areas like Blenheim and rural locations.

"The earthquakes would have had an impact on the local community of Seddon, but the underlying socioeconomic patterns were there before that. These patterns will be very slow to change."

Crampton said on a national level the report showed Maori and Pacific populations still lived in low income areas. He said the problem was entrenched and it would take generations to resolve.

"The way the index is constructed is relative to New Zealand. There will always be a most socially deprived area. The index doesn't say absolutely the level of poverty or wealth, it's relative."

A Seddon community advocate said he felt the Government, including WINZ and probation, had placed more low income people in Seddon.

"There are quite a few rental houses," he said. "One of the reasons that Seddon attracts beneficiaries and single parent families is because rents here are cheaper than in town."

The transient nature of the low-paid workforce also had an impact on deprivation.

Blenheim councillor Jamie Arbuckle said Marlborough was at the lower end of the wages scale and there was a lot of "menial work" in the region.

Marlborough was suffering from a brain drain with young people not returning to the region after attending university.

He said the Marlborough District Council was trying to add value to industry, in particular manufacturing, to attract jobs through their smart and connected programme.

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- Marlborough

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