Friday 21 March 2014

Ethnocentrism is "the technical name for the view of things in which 
one's own group is the centre of everything, 
and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it".
William Graham Sumner (1840 – 1910)

Electricity Costs Higher for Vulnerable Families

Consumer New Zealand has released figures that show in some parts of the country people on pre-pay electricity plans could be paying up to 60% more for power than those paying regular power bills. “Figures showed families in Northland paid up to 42% more on pre-pay contracts, while those in Dunedin paid 58.7% more. Invercargill it was 60.8% more. Some are reported to by paying over $1500 a year more than those on the cheapest standard plan”. It seems our most vulnerable families on pre-paid contracts end up being charged more by power companies knowing they have fewer other options if they want to stay warm. You’d be hard pressed to defend this inequity.

Social Housing on the Move Important! Accessing Social Housing from 14th April

Tenants and those working with tenants of Housing NZ need to be aware that from April 14 housing needs assessment and the decision about eligibility for Income Related Rents will transfer to Work & Income or Senior Services.
There will be new freephone numbers operating from 14th April:
Work & Income - 0800 559 009
Senior Services - 0800 552 002
From 14th April Housing NZ will be responsible for tenancy and maintenance issues only.
Contact 0800 801 601
Read more about the changes to social housing.  In the Ministers media release and the MSD website Note the renewable tenancies cabinet paper and fact sheet is on the website. The latest CHA newsletter gives a brief update on work in response to the reforms.

A Tale of Two Aged Care Workers

The impact of the minimum wage on aged care employers is between $17.8 million and $20.1 million according to Martin Taylor, Chief Executive of the NZ Aged Care Association, but how this is experienced depends on whether you are a DHB hospital caregiver or an aged care sector worker.  DHBs are funded by the Government to support wages of more than $17.50 per hour but this provision is not extended to the private sector.

What a Difference A Double-Count Makes!

To err is human and it seems The Treasury and Statistics New Zealand are no less prone to err than the rest of us, but the implications are significant to the visibility of 20,000 children living in poverty. For three years the Accommodation Supplement was inadvertently double-counted. This double count overstated the income of lower income households as reported by the Ministry of Social development’s Household Incomes Report. The impact was mainly around the calculation of lower-income households with children in private rental accommodation and receiving an Accommodation Supplement (aka New Zealand’s most vulnerable). In short, the revised data for 2011/22 indicates the child poverty rate is 27% (285,000) rather than 25% (265,000). Jonathan Boston, Professor of Public Policy at Victoria University and co-chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty and Roy Reid, president Grey Power New Zealand Federation talk with Katheryn Ryan and help us to make sense of what it all means for child and elderly poverty.

Talking About Inequality Tour

Max Rashbrook is travelling around the country engaging a wide variety of people on inequality. The details are up on the Inequality website

New Book - The Inequality Debate : An Introduction 
Check out this short introduction to income inequality in New Zealand, drawn from the larger work

'Inequality' and updated with the latest evidence.
A Fundraiser for the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ (LWMANZ)
Support the Living Wage Movement Aotearora and the beautiful Living Wage Posters designed by Chris McBride, one with stunning artwork by Tiffany Singh, are available for sale through the LWMANZ website.

Busy yes? Effective We Will See!

The Government’s response  to the Health Select Committee report on improving child health outcomes and preventing child abuse with a focus from preconception until three years of age has received a mixed response. Last November this report was hailed a real step forward and a triumph in identifying a strategic vision to improve the health of all New Zealand children. Four months on the Government’s response to the report seems to be look at how busy we are in so many different areas (Better Public Service targets, Vulnerable Children’s Plan). The question is - will being busy, without a whole of government, inter-agency action plan, improve the health and well-being of New Zealand's children? Time will tell, but meanwhile here are some recent discussions on the Government’s response to the report.
The New Zealand Medical Association sees the government’s response as a “lost opportunity”, "The Government has come back with a piecemeal, fragmented response to the report". The Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills reiterates his view that we need a “clear plan” for addressing the underlying causes of poor health in our children, including poverty.  UNICEF 's New Zealand, Deborah Morris-Travers acknowledges the government’s current initiative but argues these initiatives are too selective and narrow in scope – ie Vulnerable Children’s Action Plan targets only 10-20,000 children out of 285,000 living in poverty.

New Zealand’s Debt Society and Child Poverty

The impact of debt through the eyes of children is the subject of a new report from the Child Poverty Action group. The report takes us through five case studies and shows how easy it is to get into debt when your household income is low and an emergency happens. The New Zealand's consumer credit framework does not protect their interests and debt situations can spiral out of control very quickly, as indicated in these chilling stories. Children are caught in the middle as debt payments and disposable income is reduced still further and their needs go unmet. This is a must read report from the Child Poverty Action Group

A Good News Story from Wesley Church - video

The Good Cents  in Porirua provides community-based support and education to people wanting to gain control over their personal finances. “This initiative promotes a culture of change in a community where debt can mean interest rates 400% or more”. Check out this great ‘Making Change’ video featuring stories of Porirua people who participated in the Good Cents course.

Legislative Updates:

Vulnerable Children Bill Update

The Social Service Health Select Committee Report is due 31 Mar 2014. Note submissions are available here.

Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill

Hone Harawira recently hosted 50 students from Naenae College  who help run the school’s KickStart breakfast club in support of his private members Bill. This was followed by a Parliamentary debate  during which Hone Harawira pointed out the KickStart and KidsCan programmes feed about only 20,000 students a day “which means 80,000 are still going hungry every day.” The Bill will be up for its first reading in the coming months.

Child Harm Prevention Orders Off the table for now

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the Government is putting on hold Child Harm Prevention Orders as part of the Vulnerable Children Bill.

News From the Secretariat

Paul Barber – Community Champion Award

Congratulations to Paul Barber who was in the news recently after receiving a “Community Champion Award”. Paul wears many hats, including Policy Advisor here at NZCCSS. This award is in recognition of Paul’s ongoing efforts to make Wellington a fair trade city. See the Wellingtonian from the 6th of March for the article and photo.

What’s On

NZCCSS Conference : The Next Stretch

Here’s one for your calendar!
NZCCSS Conference : “The Next Stretch” looks at the desire
of the older people sector to look ahead and respond to changes that are happening including: Increasing demand, expectations, focus on quality, finite resources, the need for sustainability and the ability to adapt.
When : 8 - 9 May 2014
Where : Dunedin Public Art Gallery
For more information click here

Christians for Social Justice Series - Monday March 24 Option for the Poor: Advocacy for Beneficiaries

Monday 24 March at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington at 5:30 pm.
Lisa Beech (Caritas Advocacy and Research Manager) and Teresa Homan (Hutt Valley Benefit Education Service Trust and Wellington Catholic Justice Peace and Development Commission) will talk about working with beneficiaries, particularly sharing their perspectives of the impacts of the government’s welfare changes on some of New Zealand’s poorest families. Register for this event here.

Friday April 11 Pope Francis and the Catholic Social Justice Tradition

Fr Gerard Burns will provide an exploration of what Pope Francis is bringing to modern Catholic social teaching/practice. This will include a reflection on the pope's own experience in the Argentinian and Latin American context including the debate around liberation theology. It will also cover Pope Francis's 2013 letter Evangelium Gaudium and its critique of speculative financial capitalism.
Register for this event here.


Children Still Missing Out After The Quakes

Children in Christchurch are missing out on the conditions they need to grow into healthy adults," says the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Well Child/Tamariki Ora Atlas

A new online tool produced by the Health Quality & Safety Commission gives New Zealanders a clearer overview of how early childhood health services work for children and their families. Using data supplied by the Ministry of Health, the Commission has developed a Well Child/Tamariki Ora domain for its Atlas of Healthcare Variation.

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