Friday 22 August 2014

The moral test of a society is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life – children; those who are in the twilight of life – the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life – the sick, the needy and those with disabilities. 

Building Up to Election 2014

The election is 4 weeks away and it’s shaping up to be an interesting one with some unexpected dimensions at play, but let’s not take our eye off the ball. This election is about the values and policies we want to shape New Zealand over the next three years. There are some big social issues facing New Zealanders (today and in the future), which are simply bigger than politics, political parties and politicians. Building up to Election 2014 there’s an increasing need to separate the wheat from the chaff, so here’s an update from the NGO sector on some important social issues to consider when voting this election.

Building Equality - Ideas and Options : Whakatata Mai Team

The NZCCSS Closer Together Whakatata Mai team, including Paul Barber, Max Rashbrooke and Trevor McGlinchey will present on Building Equality: Ideas and Options to the Fabian Society. The presentation will cover: What are the values that would inform a different paradigm and why are they important? What is an appropriate equality target? What is the policy matrix that will set us off in the right direction? When: Monday 25 August. Where: Connolly Hall, Street, Wellington.When:5:30pm. Please register here.

Timebanking Blog From Closer Together Whakatata Mai

Inequality weakens our communities and separates us from one another. Timebanking is one effective way of rebuilding communities and bridging social divides. Wellington Timebank coordinator Hannah Mackintosh wrote this third guest article in our series on solutions to inequality.  The other guest posts published so far are on the role of social enterprise and co-operatives in reducing inequality.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Social Policy Unit has produced a six episode-video series to help voters to understand key social issues before they vote: Housing, Crime and Punishment, Work and Income, Social Hazards, and Children.

Methodist Public Issues

Methodist Public Issues has released an Election 2014 briefing that sets out political party positions (major and minor) on 5 key public issues 1) Poverty/Inequality, 2) Children, 3) Housing 4) Climate, 5) Water.

Presbyterians Name Key Election Issues

Presbyterian Church leaders have also named key elections issues for the 2014 Election :1) Income inequality, 2) Affordable quality housing 3) Climate change – caring for the environment. A brief summary of the main political parties policies on these issues is also included (See Pg 4-5)

Gospel Manifesto 2014

A Christchurch-based group of church people has prepared a Gospel Manifesto for 2014 focusing on what they see as the five main priorities for this election. Brian Turner from the Gospel Manifesto Planning group, and NZCCSS Council member says “This election year the Gospel Manifesto holds out the hope of what life should be for all in Aotearoa New Zealand, not just a privileged few”.

NZ as a Better World Neighbour by Pauline McKay, Director of CWS
Every Child Counts by Mike O'Brien, Associate Professor at Auckland University
Every Child Counts by Susan St John, Associate Professor at Auckland University
Healthy Homes Lead to Healthy Lives by the Rev Sheena Dickson, Convenor of the Christchurch Presbytery's Church & Society Group
Gross Inequality Costs Everyone by the Rev Rodney Routledge, Community Development worker and minister at St Andrews, Rangi Ruru, Christchurch.
Are we a punitive society? by Kim Workman
Overcoming the politics of fear: living adventurously in Aotearoa New Zealand by Kevin Clements
An overview of all five Manifesto priorities by Vaughan Milner, Chief Executive Officer of Presbyterian Support (Upper South Island).

Pre-Election Forum On Public Health Issues

The Wellington Branch of the Public Health Association is holding a pre-election forum on public health issues. Candidates include: NZ First - Barbara Stewart, National - Paul Hutchison, Labour- David Clark, Green- Kevin Hague, Internet-MANA- Laila Harre, United Future -Peter Dunne, Conservative-Edward Saafi, and Maori - Ngaire Button and Linda Clark is the MC. When: Tuesday 26 August. Time: 5.30pm Where: NZ Film Archives, 84 Taranki Street, Wellington.

Assisting Our Young People To Vote

Here are two great sites to assist younger people to think about politics and voting here  and here

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)

Funding Squeeze For NGO Sector : ComVoice Survey

Over the past few months ComVoices has received a lot of feedback from community organisations that they are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. To look into this further, ComVoice is undertaking a survey to take a snapshot of where the sector is at and gain greater clarity about the current situation. Results will be shared via the ComVoices network and will help support messaging to politicians both prior to and following the Election. The survey will take 5-7 minutes to complete. Each organisation should fill the survey out only once. As information will be anonymous. The survey will close at 12 noon, Monday 25 August, 2014. Link here

Children And Families

A Missed Opportunity To Support Our Most Vulnerable Babies

Who are the most vulnerable babies in New Zealand? It’s no mystery with so many official reports and data demonstrating babies/children from beneficiary households claim this title. The status quo is no longer a moral option. Yes, it’s a complex issue for adults but not for babies. For them it’s simple: regular food, a warm, healthy stable, home, clothes, stimulation, whanau and love. Working your way out of poverty may very well be the answer for some single mothers/couples but this may take time, and time is something this group of babies do not have. We know a child’s earliest years are crucial for the long-term development.
So why were 15,000 of our most vulnerable babies excluded from the Budget package for families against official advice?

St Paul’s Child Poverty Forum United On Ending Child Poverty

St Paul’s hosted over a thousand people early this month at the Child Poverty Forum, organised by Anglican Bishop Justin Duckworth and Catholic Archbishop John Dew. Politicians from across the political spectrum gave their party positions on child poverty. The Children’s Commission, Dr Russell Wills opened the forum saying” poverty related issues are costing New Zealand up to $8 billion a year! Is this investing for good outcomes!

End Child Poverty Hikoi – 6 September

Let’s show all our politicians we care about children living in poverty! CPAG and the Tick for Kids Coalition are calling on all those wanting to end child poverty to join them at the End Child Poverty Hikoi on Saturday 6 September.

‘It’s what is best for the Children’ Says Anglicans

Delegates at the Anglican Eastland Regional Conference, put children as the top priority for Government, and agreed to challenge candidates in the upcoming election on their party’s policies for reducing child poverty. Anglican Diocese of Waiapu Reverend Stephen Donald says “There needs to be a shift towards child-focussed polices instead of focussing on policies about parents, their working status, their income levels and if they are on the benefit or not”. Read the full media release here

Our Children, Our Choice: Priorities For Policy: Housing

Part four of the Child Poverty Action Group series: Our children, our choice, focussing on housing.  This well researched report considers housing market changes and their impact on children. “New Zealand could do much more to ensure all children grow up in warm, dry, secure homes” says CPAG.

Anglican Social Service Sunday - Child Poverty. Watch, Pray, Act.

The Social Justice Unit has produced this short video clip and several resources to help people have their say about solutions to child poverty.
Watch the video clip: Social Service Sunday Clip
Provide this one page fact sheet on child poverty and writing a prayer to request a national strategy to reduce child poverty.
Provide blank paper for people to write a prayer and request. Attached is a sample letter to give people the idea.
Simply leave the letters/prayers at the back of the church. We will pick up and deliver the letters for you.
For those reading this now, ask your MPs for a national strategy on child poverty immediately. Click here to see the petition.

For more information or assistance contact Jolyon or Contact to subscribe to our newsletter

Children’s Action Plan : Update

For more information on the implementation of the Vulnerable Children’s Bill check out the Children’s Action Plan website.  There’s also a new Newsletter produced by the Children’s Action Plan Team. August newsletter - Children’s Action Plan already changing children’s lives.


Hats Off To Operation: Housing

Hats off to Medical Students for Global Awareness (MSGA) who are planning Operation: Housing, a public demonstration to illustrate how poor housing leads to poor health. MSGA, a nationwide network of medical students passionate about health inequities, is calling for the implementation of a warrant of fitness scheme for private rentals. A pretend operation, complete with scrubs and masks, is scheduled for Saturday 23 August, at 1-2pm, by the bucket fountain (makeshift theatre), Wellington. For more information, see the Facebook event
….And there’s more from our med students….
Social Media House Challenge is calling for people to take photos illustrating why we need rental housing warrants of fitness, and then challenge others to do the same. Visit ‘Healthy Homes for NZ’ for more details:

Accessible Housing

CCS Disability Action has called for action on accessible housing saying it is cheaper and easier to get access right at the beginning rather than retrofitting down the track. Given New Zealand has one million people living with disabilities, and an aging population, David Matthews, Chief Executive, CCSS Disability Action is calling for “.architects, property developers, councils and all sector groups to be thinking about designing homes that fit the diverse needs of every person in the community, not just the able-bodies average.” Sounds sensible!

Affordable Loans Good News For Low Income Families

In the absence of a legislative cap on the interest (and penalties) demanded by unscrupulous money lenders, a recent partnership with the Salvation Army, the Ministry of Social Development, Bank of NZ, and Good Shepherd NZ (Community Finance Scheme) is good news to low income families needing a loan who have no other options. If you’re under any doubt about the impact of high interest debt on children and families, check out “New Zealand Debt Society and Child Poverty” recently published by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) for some real life examples.

Those working on the grounds are a bit sceptical about how effective the loan scheme will be for those many people already in debt. Peter Calder: Helping prey fight off the sharks.

Older People

Who Cares About Our Elderly?

That’s the question directed to political parties by the New Zealand Aged Care Association. Each were asked to indicate their commitment to 4 key policy areas: 1) Pay parity for caregivers, 2) InterRAI funding, 3) palliative care in aged residential care 4) Protecting the quality of service delivery to the elderly. Responses have been collated and it is a bit of a mixed bag of results. Read more here.

Impact on Benefits Caritas Advocates

On what has become an annual event at the Mangere's office of Work and Income, representatives of New Zealand Catholic groups recently joined 40 benefit advocates to provide support and advocacy to people living on benefits.  To learn more about Caritas.

Income Disparity Top Sustainability Issue Worldwide

New Zealand isn't the only country grappling with the social impact of income inequality. On a recent post, income disparity was voted top sustainability concern worldwide. “It is impacting on social stability within our countries and threatening security on a global scale”. Read more here

Social Justice Week: Catholic Social Teaching

As part of Social Justice Week this year (September 14-20), Caritas is providing examples through video of how different communities are practicing principles of Catholic social teaching in daily life.
Seven of the principles are brought to life through video: human dignity; solidarity; subsidiarity; stewardship; common good; participation; and preferential option for the poor.

Update Democracy, Ethics And The Public Good

Participatory democracy was alive and well at St Andrews on the Terrace at a recent conference on Democracy, Ethics and Public Good. The conference aimed to kick start a national discussion on the quality of our democracy was jointly hosted by the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society and Public Good Aotearoa NZ. There were some impressive speakers and, true to its participatory theme, lots of opportunities for attendees to express their concerns and views. Check out the Public Good Website for more information about the forum and the themes discussed.

Refuge New Zealand : A Nation’s Response To Refugees And Asylum Seekers. By Ann Beaglehole. Otago University Press.

Don’t miss this well researched book by Ann Beaglehole. The book considers New Zealand’s response to refugees and asylum seekers, and includes the role of the church over the years in helping refugees from all over the world to start a new life. The book also considers the role ‘war, land confiscations and European settlements’ had on making Māori refugees in their own land (The first Refugees). This is a fascinating book and well worth a read!


Modernising Parental Leave

The discussion document outlines proposals to modernise parental leave by broadening the eligibility to better reflect current work and family arrangements; and providing more flexibility to increase choice and support labour market attachment.
Submissions due 25 August 2014

What’s On:

Nurses Serving Their Community Through Faith: September Conference

The NZ Faith Community Nurses Association is holding its annual conference in September. The theme for this conference is ‘Sustainability of practice’ to be held in Wellington from 11 to 13 September. NZ Faith Community Nursing National Liaison Coordinator, Diane Webster says “We have witnessed the positive impact this ministry has on both the church and community, but often the role of a Faith Community Nurse is voluntary and so it can be a lot to ask of a nurse”.  Find out more about the conference here.

Verbatim 2014

VERBATIM is an evening of two short plays that allow some of New Zealand’s most marginalised voices to tell their own stories, in their own words. Verbatim (William Brandt and Miranda Harcourt) and Portraits (Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt) were developed through interviews with violent offenders, their families, and their victim’s families. Click here for more information.

Just Action 2014 : Salvation Army

How do we live justly in our own community? That’s the theme of the Just Action conference. This year Just Action will travel to four main centres to help us think about our own backyards. 

Dunedin: 575 Prices Street, Thursday 21 August 2014
Christchurch: 250 Colombo Street, Saturday 23 August 2014
Wellington: 92 Vivian Street, Tuesday 26 August 2014
Auckland: 18 Allright Place, Mt Wgton, 28 Thursday 2014

Social Service Providers Aotearoa National Conference 2014

“Collaborative and innovation for Vulnerable Children and Whanau”

When: 9-10 October 2014
Where: Ascot park Hostel, Invercargill
To view the full programme visit

No comments: