Tuesday 22 July 2014

Tuhia ki te raki, tuhia kit e whenua,
Tuhia ki te kākau o kā takata, ko te mea nui, ko te aroha!
Write it in the sky, write it in the earth, 
write it in the hearts of the people, 
the greatest thing is love! 

Conference Social Justice in Communities: 23-24 October

What is social justice? What does it look like in communities? And how is social justice sustained at a community level? These are some of the questions explored in an exciting conference co-hosted by NZCCSS and Community Networks Aotearoa (formally known as the New Zealand Council of Social Services). Social justice issues are at the heart of Christchurch’s rebuild and so it is fitting that this is the location of the Social Justice in Communities conference. There is a great line up of inspirational speakers from around New Zealand and Australia. For more information contact Ros Rice (04 472 3362) or Trevor McGlinchey (04 473 2627)

Building up to the Election

The 2014 Election is just under two months away and there’s lots happening around the NGO Sector!

Forum on Child Poverty

On Election day 1 in 4 children will be living in poverty. Make your vote count for those who can’t. That is the key message for discussion at the upcoming Forum on Child Poverty. Bishop Justice and Archbishop John will present on Christian perspectives on poverty. Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills will give a keynote address, and various party leaders will discuss their plans to reduce NZ child poverty. 5th August 2014, Anglican Cathedral of St Paul, 6.30pm- 9pm.

Communities Count 2

ComVoice, a network of national community organisations, has released its pre-election document Communities Count 2. The document identifies 3 key areas of focus for the 2014 General Election : 1) Leave No One Behind 2) Strong Communities need Strong Community Organisations 3) A Capable and Sustainable Sector. For more information read the document here.

Bryan Bruce Survey’s Political Parties on Child Well-Being

There’s more from distinguished documentary maker and child advocate Bryan Bruce. In his latest work Bryan Bruce has surveyed political parties on where they stand on 10 issues related to child well-being in New Zealand. The result is a bit of a mixed bag of responses, with some parties providing full responses, others providing partial responses, and a no show response. To find out more go here.

Tick 4 kids

Tick for Kids has prepared a Toolkit to help assess party policies on investing in children. Read more here.

Living Wage: Election Forum

Pitt Street Methodist Church in association with St Matthews in the City, and the Auckland Living Wage Faith Group is holding an Election Forum on ‘Key Policies and Issues for Auckland’ on 3 August at Pitt Street Methodist Church, 78 Pitt Street, Auckland, from 7pm-8pm.

Living Wage Campaign celebrates its 2nd Birthday!

It’s two years since the launch of the Living Wage campaign in Wellington and supporters are throwing a party to celebrate all that has been achieved during this time. The party will have entertainment, activities for kids and food. All welcome to this free event on Friday 1 August, 5-8pm at Loaves and Fishes, corner of Molesworth and Hill Streets. Please RSVP to Rebecca.matthews@nzei.org.nz (cc’d to fran.taito@sfwu.org.nz )
Or join the Facebook event here https://www.facebook.com/events/302033269965811/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

The Bigger Picture Building Up to the Election : Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good:

Last but not least! This is a not to be missed conference that aim is to "open the debate on the quality of our democracy and seed ideas about future approaches to building a more inclusive democracy in NZ”. The conference is sponsored by PublicGood Aotearoa and St Andrews Trust, and there is an excellent line up of speakers including -Lloyd Geering, Bronwyn Hayward, Bill Ryan, Jane Kelsey, Michael Macaulay, Myles Thomas, Barbara Bedeschi-Lewando, Cath Wallace, Max Rashbrook, Stephanie Rodgers, Meg Howie. For more information and to register visit
Where: St Andrews on the Terrace, Wellington
When: Friday 1st August - 7-9pm and Saturday 2nd August - 9am- 4.30pm


Christians called to vote to close the inequality gap

As Election 2014 looms, Lisa Woolley, President of NZCCSS, called to New Zealand Christians to evaluate candidates on their party’s commitment to the wellbeing of our country’s most vulnerable people. “This means recognising what lies at the root of key social problems including child poverty, inadequate housing and state of our prison system. That issue is income inequality”. Read the full media release here.

Housing costs key as inequality remains high

Paul Barber, Advisor at NZCSS, recent media release says New Zealand’s housing sector is a glaring example of the negative effects of income inequality. It literally divides us geographically. Our health is damaged by poor quality, over-crowded houses, Māori and Pacific communities are more affected than others, reducing their chances to get ahead in life”. Read the full media release here 

“Homelessness is where you see some of society’s most glaring inequalities”

Christchurch Housing Crisis – Even the Bad Houses are Gone. 

Read about Christchurch’s housing crisis from Christchurch City Missioner, Michael Gorman and Vaughan Milner, Chief Executive of Presbyterian Support (Upper South Island) here

Since when did the language of human frailty change to financial liability to the state?

We hear a lot about the cost of (human) liability on the state’s purse and about the culprits - people receiving state benefits - with superannuates figures nicely partitioned off with a “do not mention’ sign. The recently released actuarial report: The Investment Approach: 2013 Benefit System Performance Report  takes a look at recent changes to social welfare policy to see if the state purse now and in the future can be spared a few bob. And it seems the state’s spend has reduced more than expected due to ‘a higher than expected number of job seekers and sole parent beneficiaries going off benefits’. Some are even popping the champagne corks for there is merit in investing in people to build meaningful lives and to contribute to their country’s overall well-being. But since when did the language of human frailty and of building human capability change to talk of financial liability and savings to the public purse? Language and the values they represent matter, along with the value and dignity of people in need! A loss of human empathy and compassion for the ‘least of these’ is the liability here.

Social welfare as an opportunity not dependency: Two UK reflections

'Austerity Bites'

The welfare state is not about dependency: it is about opportunity: Mary O’Hara’s new book, 'Austerity Bites' argues that dismantling of state support betrays future generations of poor children.

Eulogy to the National Health Service : What happened to the world my generation built ?

“In 1926, Harry Leslie Smith's sister died of TB in a workhouse infirmary, too poor for proper medical care. In 1948, the creation of the NHS put a stop to all that. In an extract from his new book, 'Harry's Last Stand', Harry describes his despair at the coalition's dismantling of the welfare state”.

Speaking for Ourselves – The truth About What Keeps People in Poverty from those who Live it.

The absence of information about what it means to live in poverty in New Zealand is at the heart of Speaking for Ourselves – The Truth About What Keeps People in Poverty from those who Live it. Families 100 is a collaborative project between Auckland City Mission and Auckland/Massey University which seeks to capture the lived experience of 100 families living in poverty. Although each story is unique the report identifies 8 drivers that keep these families in poverty and it is the usual round up of suspects – Debt, Justice, Housing, Employment, health, Food Insecurity, Services and Education.

Child and Family

Compulsory Schooling and Poverty: Do children leave disadvantage at the school gate?

No according to a new report from CPAG Compulsory School and Child Poverty . CPAG education spokesperson Professor John O'Neill said, "A narrow focus on quality classroom teaching is not enough to reduce educational inequalities between children who begin life in material disadvantage and those who don't”. CPAG's policy recommendations include a reduction in class sizes for low decile primary schools and salary incentives to encourage the best teachers to teach in poor areas. CPAG also recommends that decile 1-4 schools be developed as community hubs to provide education, health, parenting, budgeting, community law and social. Read media release here.

More from CPAG…

Child Poverty in NZ Series

All six episodes of Catriona MacLennan’s series on child poverty in NZ are available to watch online via CPAG's YouTube channel. A great resource targeted at schools, training institutions, community groups and anyone interested in how poverty affects children and what needs to be done about it.

New Facebook Page for Child Poverty Monitor

The Child Poverty Monitor , launched last December by The Office of the Children's Commissioner, JR McKenzie Trust and Otago University, has its own facebook page. Please 'like' and share with any of your networks! https://www.facebook.com/childpovertymonitor?ref=profile

The Big Picture Competition

The Big Picture Competition is for school students to learn about child poverty and be part of making a difference. To enter, students must create a big picture showing what kids in their neighbourhood need to be healthy and free from poverty. There are lots of prises and selected entries will be exhibited at Parliament. Teaching resources are available here Entries can be completed any time before October 17th.

More social workers for CYF

80 new social work staff is planned for CYF in response to one of the recommendations identified in a recent MSD report Workload and Casework Review [add link] to reducing caseloads that are “unreasonable high”. NZCCSS sees this as a good remedial action but reducing inequality in New Zealand’s communities would likely have a longer lasting impact on the well-being of at risk children.

Older People

The Controller and Audit General has released a report on the Auditor Generals recommendation on home based support services.

Spirituality and ageing is the focus of an upcoming event at the Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality. In a one-day conference on 28th August they will be exploring a variety of cultural, religious and secular views on the spirituality of ageing. Download the registration and programme here.  


Updates from Community Housing Aotearoa

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) recently held a conference in Nelson. There was a great turn out for this event. To find out more go to the conference website. Conference presentations will be added online soon.  Read the latest from CHA on meeting the growing housing demands of ‘baby boomers’ .

He Whare Āhuru He Oranga Tāngata Māori Housing Strategy launched

Given low rates of home ownership among Māori it is timely the Associate Minister of Housing Tariana Turia has launched the establishment of the National Maori Housing Unit in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The Unit will co-ordinate strategic Māori housing policy across government and support the implementation of He Whare Ahuru He Oranga Tangata – The Māori Housing Strategy. Read more here.

Child Friendly Cities Initiative : Putting Children and Youth at the Centre of city planning

Congratulation to Whangarei on becoming New Zealand’s first city to be registered with the Child Friendly Cities (CFC). There are four stages involved in becoming a Child Friendly City: 1)Registering the city’s commitment to becoming a child-friendly city 2) Planning and implementing child friendly policy and practices across the city 3) Becoming a UNICEF accredited child friendly city 4) Continuing the good work and regularly assessing progress. Find out more about the CFC initiative and what it means to Whangarei and read UNICEF NZ National Advocacy Manager, Deborah Morris-Travers’ press release

How effective is the legislated child support system is in reducing child poverty?

‘Next to useless’ is the response by Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple, co-authors of Child Poverty in New Zealand, arguing “Most poor children in separated families are supported by a sole-parent benefit. In this context, Inland Revenue’s recent claim that child support provides financial assistance to around 210,000 children is misleading. About 130,000 of these children get no financial support passed on from the IRD because their parents receive a welfare bene­fit”. For more information and their recommendations read their article in full.

Vulnerable Children Act

On 1 July 2014 the Vulnerable Children Act and other associated legislation passed into law. The Act is one part of comprehensive measures to protect and improve the wellbeing of vulnerable children and strengthen our child protection system.

Paid Parental Leave- discussion Paper

The Government is currently reviewing paid parental and has prepared a discussion document that proposes to:
· Extend the eligibility of paid parental leave to include primary carers other than parents
· Extend payments to people in less-regular work or who recently changed jobs
· Enable employees to take unpaid parental leave part time and flexibly
Have your say! Submissions close 25 August 2014

Whats on:

Brainwaves Last For Ever. Symposium on Manujana, Alcohol and the Adolescent Brain. Linking Knowledge to Practice.

Auckland, 12 August 2014, 9am – 5pm, Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre, 58 Waipuna Road, Mt. Wellington

Wellington, 14 August 2014, 9am – 5pm, Westpac Stadium Function Centre, Waterloo Quay

Capitalising on Wellington - Dr Richard Norman

On Monday 11 August Dr Richard Norman will present findings from recent research commissioned as a response to concerns about the state of the economy and employment opportunities in the Wellington region. He finds Wellington is coming to grips with the challenges of technology change. here.
August 11th
5.30 PM - 7:30 PM
Location : Guildford Terrace, Connolly Hall, Thorndon, Wellington


Voices of Women in post-quake Canterbury

Movers and Shakers is the final report of a research study undertaken by the National Council of Women (Christchurch Branch) between 2011 and 2014 on women's experiences of the earthquakes and the aftermath. Great first hand account!

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