Monday 9 February 2009

Policy Watch

National’s response to the growing recession

Last week the PM announced the government’s relief package for small and medium business. With the primary focus on helping businesses to keep operating and employing staff, the initiative involves a range of tax changes, improved access to business advice and credit and raft of other changes valued at nearly half a billion dollars. Key has stressed that this is one of a series of announcements in response to the economic recession. He has signalled further announcements next week related to infrastructure -including extra cash for roading, housing and schools.

In a media release from former Labour Minister Steve Maharey, now Vice Chancellor at Massey University, a warning is given that “good social policy is essential during a recession” and that “economic problems can quickly become social problems … if we assume that the problem can only be addressed through financial and business focussed policies”. The Greens have challenged the government in a recent press release to go ‘further and faster’ on solutions to housing problems.

Minimum wage – to freeze or not to freeze?

It is expected that the Government will an announcement this week regarding the minimum wage. Business NZ has called for a nil increase this year. The previous government had lifted the minimum wage nine times between 1999 and 2008 with the aim of bringing it up to $15 per hour. This appears increasingly unlikely but the National government may see fit to link it to CPI increases.

Sailing into troubled waters…

The Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit has just released their State of the Nation report titled “Into Troubled Waters”. In essence the report calls for leaders and decision makers to use the current economic crisis as an opportunity for transformation. Proposed solutions such as tax cuts are seen as a dated response to a new situation which requires new types of thinking. As a follow-up to their first state of the nation report, "What does it profit us?", this report continues to track NZ’s social progress in five areas: children, crime and punishment, work and income, social hazards and housing. Progress has been mixed and where inroads have been made, these could be easily reversed in the current economic climate.

Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) upcoming research

In the next few months DCM will release Director Stephanie McIntyre’s research report on the use of Wet House facilities in the UK and North America. The report clearly shows widespread and effective use of ‘wet’ accommodation for homeless people with chronic alcohol dependence. DCM is also researching appropriate opportunities for service users to engage in social and recreational activities.

Our Responsibility for Others - Caritas Lenten Programme

The Caritas theme for the Lent Appeal 2009 is Our responsibility for others. Resources for schools and the Lenten reflection programme for 2009 are available for download on the Caritas website .


Careerforce - Sector Consultation Meetings

Since this time last year Careerforce, an Industry Training Organisation for community support services, has been working with the health and disability sector to develop a suite of career pathways and related national qualifications and will hold further consultation meetings in the following centres: Chch 3 March, at Careerforce, 356 Armagh St; Akld, 4 March, Otago Uni Akld Centre; Wgton, 5 March Otago Uni Stadium Centre; and 6 March in Dunedin at the Otago Museum. All sessions run from 10am to 1pm. If you have any questions or queries please call on 0800 277 486 or email Hannah at

Review of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 - Report to the Minister of Health/ Public Consultation of Final Recommendations.

The Ministry of Health has recently completed a draft of the review. The final draft of the review report will be available for comment on the Ministry of Health website from 2 February for comment until 20 February 2009. There is a submission form that asks three specific questions in relation to each recommendation and public feedback on the recommendations will assist in the finalisation of the report to the Minister. The form can be found at the back of the review report (page 96).Submissions close: 20 February 2009 – see the MoH website.

No comments: