Friday 12 December 2008

Policy Watch

Whilst there has been quite a lot of media attention paid to the impact of the global financial crisis on business and industry very little thought has been given to the impact on charities. In Australia a large four-church charity has asked the Federation Government for $900m to help cover their costs, experiencing both increased demand for services and lost revenue from long term investments. Its conceivable that many charities in NZ are experiencing the same challenges.

In a media release last week - Community Groups Face Tough Times - fundraising expert Heather Newell warned that local community groups reliant on funding grants from philanthropic trusts and gaming machines trusts will find it hard going in 2009. Heather, whose company Foresee Communications provides fundraising resources and training for groups in the charity, sports, arts, health and medical research sectors, said the worldwide recession has hit major community funders who make grants from the interest on their investments. Some funders have called a halt to making any grants at all, others are reviewing their funding pool for next year.

Parliament under urgency

The new Parliament has been full steam ahead - with the briefings to Incoming Ministers stacking up on the Beehive website, and Select Committee memberships put in place, all while the House is sitting under urgency to push through legislation tagged to the National Party's '100 day plan'.

The Treasury was at the head of the pack of those agencies who have published their briefing for incoming Ministers. The Treasury briefing was prepared before the general election of November 2008 and discusses New Zealand’s medium-term economic outlook. Interestingly Finance Minister Bill English has rejected Treasury calls for sweeping changes, including a capital gains tax, an increase to gst and bigger personal tax cuts in a media release shortly after the briefing was made public.

NZCCSS has published a summary of its own Briefing to the Incoming Government in the latest issue of our new newsletter Kete Kupu. To receive a copy of the Briefing in full or to be added to the mailing list for Kete Kupu, please send an email with a specific request to

Human Rights will be high on the agenda in 2009

The year ahead will be an important test for how well we are doing at a New Zealand Government level when, in May 2009, the Government's overall performance on human rights will be examined for the first time through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The UPR is a mechanism established in 2006 whereby the UN Human Rights Council reviews whether or not UN member states are fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments. In addition to this we have yet to see what approach the new Government will take to unfinished business such as the yet to be signed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa (ACYA) has responded to the government’s draft UN Report on UNCROC. ACYA made a significant response to the draft government report, identifying four key issues: child poverty, child abuse, disparities of outcomes and shortcomings in planning and resources.


A Million Unhealthy Homes - Better Performing Homes for New Zealanders

The call for a housing “warrant of fitness” has received impressive research support in a survey report from the Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD). The report shows a million homes are not adequately insulated, and a quarter of our homes could be making their occupants sick. Making homes warmer and drier would save on health costs, lost work days through sickness, save heating costs and save precious water. The report and survey results can be downloaded from the NZBCSD website

Age Concern has expressed its support for the findings of the Business Council for Sustainable Development report stating in a press release that “cold homes are killing older people”.

The Green Party has said the report highlights highlights both the value of the billion dollar Green Homes Fund and the new Government’s flawed thinking in plans to ditch it.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation says the Government needs to set up an energy efficiency type rating system immediately to help prospective home buyers and tenants know how healthy a dwelling is before they move in.


Housing and vulnerable young people

For those interested in the housing needs of vulnerable young people CHRANZ has published jointly with the Ministry of Youth Development a report Access to Safe and Secure Hosing for At Risk and Vulnerable Young People in November 2008. The report is available on the CHRANZ website.


Treaty of Waitangi: Questions and Answers
Covering many historical and contemporary issues, this resource is for people who want to gain a basic knowledge about the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications, as well as for those who want to refresh and update their understanding. See

Launch of New Employment Resource for Sector Organisations

A new, one-stop employment relations resource designed specifically for sector organisations is soon to be launched. Entitled Mana Mahi, it contains 17 best practice guides and 6 resource booklets relating to a wide range of employment relations issues in the community and voluntary sector. Sample guides are available on the Community Central website.


NZ Housing Policy Forum – 18 March 2009 Duxton Hotel Wellington
Increasing access to affordable and social housing is an on-going challenge for anyone working within the housing policy realm but place on that the strain of economic recession and a change in government and the challenge is intensified. This forum is the chance to learn about and discuss recent trends and developments in housing research, policy and regulation.

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