We need good parents, not more benefits - Duncan Garner

A new report has highlighted some of the most pressing social issues in three of New Zealand's lowest income communities, who say they feel "forgotten".

Duncan Garner spoke on The AM Show on Tuesday about the issue which has been transcribed below.

OPINION: The Sallie Army this morning has highlighted New Zealand's poorest communities; our toughest, our hardest, our most socially deprived areas - places like Linwood in Christchurch, Porirua in Wellington and Papakura in South Auckland.

This is not, I know, an easy conversation to have but it must be discussed in this country.

When you talk about the growing gap between rich and poor - that's the haves and the have-nots - these are the have-nots.

They're not only poor. These guys, these communities, are a ticking time bomb. And in some cases the bomb has exploded already.

Papakura stands out as the worst of the lot. One in three children have faced possible child abuse or neglect. And Child Youth and Family has been notified.

More students are expelled from school, twice the national average. Alarmingly it is 10-14-year-olds in that cohort.

Something is seriously wrong and something is seriously wrong at home.

One out of every four 15-24-year-olds have no job. They're not even in school or any form of training.

Fourteen percent of 18-24-year-olds are on benefits. They should be out working, building this country. We import workers from overseas when our own Kiwis, 25 kilometres from where I sit today are on benefits.

And guess what? Rents have risen by 27 percent in the last four years. Home ownership is down. Investors own the houses.

These guys are not only not in the housing market, they're barely in the life market. They're not involved in life.

It's a massive challenge and we, us, you, me, we can't give up. Because these kids need more than just their local parks upgraded.

They need inspiring role models. They need a community that can be proud of them, parents that set good examples.

Benefits and welfare we do not need. Beneficiaries, we do not need more of them.

It's toxic. And it's become a way of life and that's got to stop.

Education and a job? That'll change lives, and so will good parenting. We need good parents. It's crucial.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show, weekdays at 6am on Three and RadioLIVE.