Monday 9 March 2009

Policy Watch

NZCCSS MEDIA RELEASE: "Together we can" message from Church leaders

At the end of February Church Leaders of our six denominations and their Maori advisors met with Council to discuss the social impacts of the global economic crisis and our response to it. Three responses were developed – a message of hope, an agreement to work proactively as Christian agencies and communities, and recommendations on how the government can contribute to supporting those most affected by the crisis.

In the wake of the Jobs Summit we are seeking a meeting with the Prime Minister to progress these recommendations. In the wise words of our Vice-President, Ruby Duncan: “Society survives hard times, when there is community cohesion. It is time for solidarity.”


At the NZCCSS meeting of Church Leaders and Maori advisors, we released our most recent research report. The Grassroots Voices research records and analyses the experiences of 249 families and Christian agencies staff in receiving or giving assistance to help families. As a result of this research we are calling for an overarching family support strategy to ensure families can get the services they need, more support for people on low incomes, better relationships between community and government agencies and sufficient government resourcing to enable collaborative services to be delivered. A full copy of the report can be found on our website in the Publications Library.

To download PDFs directly, click on:


As you will all be aware, John Key held the much touted Job’s Summit on 27 February, coincidentally on the same day as our NZCSS/ Church Leaders meeting. A list of 20 ideas was compiled for further investigation by officials regarding their feasibility.

Top among these was the idea of a nine day fortnight with the 10th day used for training or community work. It's unlikely that the government would meet the cost of wages for the 10th day and even a wage subsidy would cost over $300m. From the perspective of NZCCSS, it is unlikely low paid workers could absorb a pay cut of any kind. Many on minimum wage are already struggling, others may already have only part time work. Most vulnerable are young workers, Maori and Pacific workers (because of their place in the labour market) and women.

Independent news site, Scoop, has put together a comprehensive Job Summit page.

With redundancies starting to mount, the limitations of the Restart package for one newly redundant worker have also been reported.


The Dominion Post recently featured a front page article on the alarming numbers of new born infants taken into care. A press release by Family Help Trust in response to the article stressed the importance of early intervention programmes. The Trust claims that the cost of such programmes is 40% less than that of state care and that every dollar spent on early intervention services now will save $19 in the future. See also: Family Help Trust


The Foreign Minister Murray McCully has recently called for two quick reviews of NZAID and has indicated that he would like to see the semi-autonomous agencies reabsorbed into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In a press release Oxfam NZ is opposed to the move, concerned that the focus of aid will shift from poverty reduction to economic development, to the detriment of the most vulnerable people. The Council for International Development has also asked in a press release what problem Murray McCully is trying to fix. World Vision has also expressed their concern.


Statistics New Zealand wants public feedback into its review of housing statistics. It wants to make sure that the statistics collected about housing give the best information on housing adequacy for all New Zealanders. This includes things like affordability, tenure security, habitability (physical condition), suitability (meets the needs of people), and availability (there is enough houses available). The last time housing statistics were reviewed was in 1979. For more information on the housing review and how to make a submission go to Statistics New Zealand.


The Government’s 3rd & 4th Periodic Report to United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child was sent to Geneva in November 2008 and is now available to the public via the
Ministry of Youth and Development website


Barnardos in association with EPOCH and the Families Commission have issued a useful pamphlet setting out the legal position of the effects of Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961. Check out the pamphlet at Barnardos.



Author:NZCCSS Secretariat
Title: Grassroots Voices
Theme: Families experiences of Christian social services

Author: Presbyterian Support Otago
Title: Voices of Poverty Dunedin 2008
Theme: Poverty

Author: Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit
Title: 2nd State of the Nation Report
Theme: Well being indicators

Author: Presbyterian Support Upper Sth Island
Title: A Fistful of Tears
Them: Youth Anger

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