Wednesday 27 August 2008

Policy Watch e-letter - 30 August


The Chief Executive of Mission Australia Toby Hall has defended the work of Mission Australia in a recent press release and has hotly refuted media coverage in NZ that has suggested that there have been discussions with John Key to create a ‘super contractor’. To find out a bit more about Mission Australia and the many social services they provide check out this FAQ page.

The Social Services Select Committee has reported back to government of the Children Young Persons and Their Families Amendment Bill No.6. The Committee consider 41 written submissions and heard 26 including a NZCCSS submission. The CYF Amendment No 6 report is 92 pages and largely supports the bill. The recommendations at the beginning are largely technical in nature. It is pleasing to see the upper age covered by the care and protection and youth justice system lifted to 18 years and improved processes for FGCs.

The Minister for Justice has reported in a press release that a postal referendum on section 59 is being planned to take place after the election as sufficient signatures calling for a referendum have been collected. Unfortunately the question is so biased that those who do not believe smacking is good parenting will have difficulty with the wording of the question: Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?


In a press release this week the Greens have called for the government to stop overseas investors from buying houses given the domestic housing affordability problem. Speaking of housing affordability, the Commerce Select Committee has recently reported back to Government on the Inquiry into housing affordability New Zealand. Of the ten recommendations on page 4 the sixth recommendation relates to the role of the third sector or social housing. It recommends that the government continue to support third sector organisations that make a worthwhile contribution to affordable housing. More specifically on p18 the report recommends that the government continue to fund HIF (Housing Innovation Fund) in a way that recognises the needs of social housing organisations.

As the Greens, NZ First and the Government broker a deal re the Climate Change Bill it is heartening to see that financial impact on consumers, particularly those on low incomes, is being considered. A very significant $1b has been agreed to for improved home insulation and energy efficiency over the next 15 years. There is also likely to be a one off cash payment in 2010, with low income families recieving the most.

In Tuesday’s Dominion Post it was reported that the cost of food costs had increased by 7.6% in the year to July. However it was more encouraging to read in the NZ Herald that Record food costs are set to ease. The boom in global commodity prices is starting to ease including dairy commodities. The October 1 tax cuts and Family Tax Credit adjustment of 5.2% should also help struggling families.


Grey Power is calling for an independent commission to review how superannuation is calculated. Grey Power maintains that Super doesn’t add up. This is partly in response to the rising cost of living, dissatisfaction with the level of payments for singles and couples and the keenly felt financial losses through finance company collapses that many senior citizens have experienced.

It was recently announced by Ministers' Parker and Peters that the needs of Veterans and their families have received a welcome boost of $1m. The money will be used to support the RSA’s welfare infrastructure.

Minister Dyson has announced that the elderly, sick and disabled people will no longer need to fill out an annual form with WINZ if there circumstances have not changed in a press release of 18 August.


BP New Zealand last week launched the ‘BP Vouchers for Volunteers’ programme for 2008, inviting applications from volunteer organisations for thousands of BP fuel vouchers. Registered charities or volunteer organisations that rely on voluntary assistance and use vehicles are eligible to apply. For an application form and full eligibility criteria please visit Applications close on 31 August. Successful applicants will be advised by mail and on our website ( on September 22nd.

Ever wondered about the aggregate contribution of the non for profit sector is in NZ? Statistics from the International study for NZ’s NFP sector reveal that it contributes 4.9% to GDP and has a very high paid and voluntary workforce – equivalent to 1 in 10 of the working age population. The study has two reports - one on the history of the NFP sector in NZ and another which focuses on international comparisons.

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