Monday 26 January 2009

Policy Watch

A new era in American politics

Last week President Barack Obama delivered his inauguration speech. In terms of the mission of NZCCSS the following two quotes stood out:

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

Later in the speech he pledged:

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders.

Briefings to Incoming Ministers and the Government

NZCCSS has been reading the Briefings to Incoming Ministers and the Incoming Government prepared by government officials. It was pleasantly surprising to see the level of alignment between NZCSS’s Briefing to the Incoming Government (links to PDF) and those of government officials.

For example in the housing briefing officials identify housing affordability and a shortage of houses as critical issues and warn of the increasing affordability issues for rentals “that will put considerable stress on low income families”. The potential to grow the contribution of social housing from the third sector is identified in both the briefing from the Department of Building of housing and the briefing from Housing New Zealand.

Several of the MSD briefings stressed the importance of prevention and early intervention, focussing on the needs of whole families, having integrated responses and tilting the balance of expenditure from social protection (e.g. income support, care and protection work and healthcare) to future focussed spending on medium to long term outcomes such as healthier, safer and more educated population.

Many of these messages are supported in the findings of the Grassroots Voices research. This report is nearing publication and is expected to be available in February.

All briefings can be found on the Beehive website or, for ease of reference, many are also now saved in the Publications Library on the NZCCSS website.


Social Isolation, Social Exclusion and Services for Older People Living Alone is a presentation by Assoc Prof Michael Fine by from 6-7pm on Wednesday 18 February at the Wellington Central Library mezzanine floor meeting room.

The Wellington Branch of the Gerontology Association is hosting this event. Prof Fine is the author of A Caring Society? Care and the Dilemmas of Human Services in the 21st Century (2006 Palgrave/Macmillan), and Individualization and the Delivery of Welfare, by Anna Yeaman, with Gary Dowsett, Michael Fine and Di Guransky, Palgrave, Houndmills, 2009 which is being launched in Sydney in early Feb 2009.

Michael is currently HoD Sociology, and Deputy Director, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University, Sydney. He is a prolific writer on issues in aged care, and the sociology of old age.


TVNZ Close Up story on Birkenhead Lodge rest home in Auckland

Last week TVNZ’s Close Up programme ran a story on the Birkenhead Lodge rest home where a TVNZ reporter worked undercover as a caregiver. You can view the story and follow up interviews online at the TVNZ website

A request: Good Things that happen in rest homes

Looking at what is actually happening in 99% of our care facilities, someone is writing about the good news in services for older people. Have you got some good news to share about aged care? Then RN Leigh Kelly, who runs an aged care training company is collecting stories for a book she wishes to publish. Contact her at or PO Box 9032 Newmarket, Auckland.


Community Housing Aotearoa – Governance Upside Down: Governance training for non for profit board members facilitated by Tony Hassed is being delivered in Tauranga, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch during March. For more information email Dan at

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