Friday 9 January 2009

Policy Watch

Briefings to Incoming Ministers

Visit the NZCCSS website to check out the latest Government Briefings to Incoming Ministers for the portfolios relevant to Council’s core work. These include briefings from the Ministries of Social Development, Housing, Health and Child Youth and Families and the Office for Senior Citizens.

CPAG Discrimination Case (courtesy of the CPAG website)

Child Poverty Action Group NZ has obtained a legal decision confirming the In-Work Tax Credit is discriminatory. This is because children whose parents cannot meet a work test are denied the support needed to keep them out of poverty. CPAG, represented by the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, has received a decision confirming that real and substantive discrimination exists in the IWTC, from the Human Rights Review Tribunal (December 2008). Yet the Tribunal has also decided the discrimination is justified. At least 200 000 of our poorest children are affected. Read CPAG's press release about the decision, or the decision (6.5MB) together with Tapu Misa's excellent column in the NZ Herald about it, a summary of the case and more about the progress of the case.

Improvements needed in NZ’s early childhood education

Late last year the UN released the Innocenti Report Card 8 – The childcare transition: A league table of early childhood education and care in economically advanced countries. Report Card 8 ranks the rich countries of the world for their performance on a set of benchmark indicators for early childhood care and education. Of the 10 minimum standard benchmarks NZ failed 3. The areas we failed were child poverty (levels too high), poor parental leave provisions and poor access to early childhood education. See outline of NZ’s performance re the 10 benchmarks.

New Book - It’s Time We Started Telling These Stories

It’s Time We Started Telling These Stories has been published by the “It’s Not OK” Campaign and tells the life stories of eight New Zealanders who grew up with family violence. Launched late last year and supported by Women’s Refuge, the book will be available from public libraries in the New Year. It should also be available from the MSD "It’s Not OK" website although is not yet online.

Beyond Reasonable Debt: A background report on the indebtedness of NZ families

Late last year the Families Commission and the Retirement Commission jointly released the
Beyond Reasonable Debt report
. The report looks at the indebtedness of New Zealand families and “explores the factors that might distinguish families who use indebtedness well from those who do not”. Both Commissions are interested in the financial well being of New Zealanders

National launches ReStart welfare support

ReStart provides short-term support to low to moderate income families with children, and people with high housing costs who have been made redundant. Additional assistance is available for a maximum of 16 weeks for people who have been in employment for the last six months. Further information can be found in the
FACS e-news December 2008 issue

Auckland City Community Report

Those of you delivering social services in Auckland City may be interested in the
Auckland City Community Report
, part of the local services mapping process. The report will be available on the MSD FACS website in February and examines ways communities can work together to improve social services and the wellbeing of Auckland families.

Homelessness Conference

The New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness is hosting its National Conference in Christchurch on 24th March 2009 in Christchurch and has called for abstracts. The conference has two themes – homelessness prevention and early intervention. Abstracts are due by 14 February. For an abstract template or further information contact


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