Friday 7 February 2014

He aha te mea nui o tea o?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! 
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!

Ethics Before Politics and Policy

It’s clearly election year with politicians left, right and centre talking about policies for children. Some focusing on educational reform to increase opportunities for all children to flourish in an assumed egalitarian society. Others focusing on a nearly universal child allowance (with caveats), extended paid parental leave and increased access to free child care in an assumed structurally unequal society.  And still others focusing on more community-based policies around health and social hubs in low decile schools to build strong and resilient communities that mitigate against child poverty and inequalities. Amidst all this talk, our ever pragmatic Children’s Commissioner reminds us that we need to keep our eye on the ball and remember “any new investment should prioritise our youngest and poorest children”. Collectively all these policies have merit. The point of difference most at stake here is not so much the What and the How but the Why. If the underlying Why simply reflects utilitarianism (a means to an end) rather than a deep and heartfelt concern for a group of people in need, it is unlikely much will change and we will be talking about the same group of vulnerable children and adults for generations to come. Ethics Matter.

“We are called to love our neighbours, to recognise and celebrate the innate human dignity of each person and all people, to nurture and care for creation, and protect the most vulnerable. Each of us is called to this work because we are human beings”. Caritas, 2013

Note: Bryce Edwards has prepared a very readable overview of all the above policies along with a variety of responses.

Strutting down the Beehive Catwalk…

To help keep us on the ball… political policies are strutted down the Beehive catwalk building up to Election 2014, here’s some key documents to revisit when critiquing these ideas against effective action:

Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS): Have Your Say!

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) would like to know your views on government procurement and is undertaking a survey (see below) to gather a range of views. From our initial analysis of the survey it seems GETS is not going to include tendering from community-based organisations and social services. We note the service categories broken down in the survey don’t include a social service or community development box! If you have experienced difficulty with the GETS process now is your chance to feed this back to MBIE through the survey. Note the due date is very close is 10 February 2014.  The survey will be hosted on the website.

Start the Day with Equal Pay

“An estimated 30,000 women work in supporting the elderly and were typically paid little more than the minimum wage for a job that is skilled, demanding and at the heart of a decent society” and that’s about to change says Marianne Bishop, Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) central region president and caregiver. Kristine Bartlett, a Lower Hutt caregiver led the way with her now historic equal pay case in which the Employment Court ruled in her favour last year. The decision was appealed and is now with the Court of Appeal but there is no going back “Kristine has stood up and behind her are thousands of other caregivers”. We are watching this space with interest.

Here’s links to some other reactions to the appeal case:

The UN is Watching

We still aren't doing as well as we might think when it comes to domestic violence and protesting our children according to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group Report. No less than 155 recommendations for New Zealand. That’s quite a ticking off! Interestingly some of the key recommendations mirror those captured in recent New Zealand reports:
  •  Eliminate the gender gap; 
  •  Include economic, social and cultural rights Review in the Bill of Rights Act;
  •  Establish indicators to measure child poverty;
  •  Further strengthen and expand national action plans to reduce child poverty and that of their families;
  •  Continue its effort to effectively implement the new Zealand Disability Strategy.
Read the full report here.

Spot Light on Global Elite and it’s About Time

Well it’s all coming out now and it’s not pretty! A new report from Oxfam tells us ‘Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population”. Can’t be! Well read the report and be prepared for a shock.

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