Friday 27 July 2012

Policy Watch

“Will you still love me when I'm a monster?”
Margaret Mahy, Maddigan's Fantasia

Finding  the Māori word for "monster" is easy

And so is finding other words at the online Māori dictionaryWhakanuia Te Wiki o te Reo Māori /Celebrate Māori Language Week.  Heaps of info to help get us all get cracking is at    For 100 words for all of us, see One hundred words every New Zealander should know


One of the key roles of NZCCSS is to supply information and networking opportunities to support members providing quality services and to develop, critique and advocate for policies that will assist poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged New Zealanders.

Through our publications, Kete Kupu, Policy Watch, and the Vulnerability Report we have been actively achieving this. 

Today there are a few questions we would like to ask you about Policy Watch in order to ensure that we are providing a quality product to you and your organisation.


1.     What would improve Policy Watch?

 2.     How has Policy Watch assisted you?  (Any specific examples?) 


1.     What would improve Vulnerability Report?

2.     How has Vulnerability Report assisted you?  (Any specific examples?)

Please send your feedback to

Thanks for your help

Welfare reform update

The next batch of welfare reforms has been passed by parliament.  As of August, 16 and 17 year olds on benefits will have their payments managed, and be expected to be involved in school or training. The plan is they will achieve NCEA level 2 or its equivalent.

New requirements for lone parent benefit recipients will take effect in October. Lone parents with children aged over five will be expected to look and be available for part-time work. Parents with children over 14 will be expected to look for full-time work.  Government is promoting  long-term reversible contraception,  and is "specifically targeting teen parents and  ... providing $80 million for childcare so they [can]continue with their education and training."

The reforms have been described as:
- harassing people off or out of the benefit system by making their lives so difficult, they will do anything to get off or stay off the benefit.'' (Auckland Action Against Poverty spokeswoman Sue Bradford)
- "...a way of bringing about positive change to the lives of beneficiaries by offering more support for young people, sole parents, partners of beneficiaries and those on Widow’s and Women Alone benefits” (Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, MP for Maungakiekie)
- "shambolic" - "targeting the 14,000 16 and 17 year olds not in education, training or work (Neets), leaving a large number of the over 80,000 young people in that category without support" - Jacinda Adern,  Labour Party Social Development Spokesperson

Organisations with contracts to provide the wrap- around services for young people under the new welfare regime can be found here. Read a summary about welfare reform in our latest issue of Kete Kupu

Kete Kupu: MSD funding, HNZ struggles, and heaps more 

Find out all about Investing In Services for Outcomes, a new approach to MSD funding and contracts.  Other info in NZCCSS's latest Kete Kupu includes social housing, Pasifika issues, older peoples' services and plenty more.  NZCCSS has put a lot of work into reducing inequality in Aotearoa; we are now involved in producing a book on the growing gap between rich and poor with Max Rashbrook and Bridget Williams Books.  We also profile the living wage campaign; hardly surprising when the food banks are seeing increasing numbers of people who are receiving wages rather than benefits.

Those really wanting to be in the know will be able to throw all of MSD, FACs, NCEA, ACC, NEET, UNICEF, CORT, SHU, CEO, SHIP, ANZ, WHT, DWELL,WEF, NZCCSS, HRC, DHBs, ITO, PTE, HET, NGO, PHA and SSPA into their sentences with aplomb after reading the latest issue.

Want feel happy? Don't read the latest Vulnerability Report

It's a bit of a grim read.  Too many services report too many people struggling.  The report puts together a mixture of official statistics and stories from what the social services are experiencing.  Demands for food parcels and  budgeting services appear to have eased in some places. However, demands for housing assistance, counselling and social work services have increased. Unemployment has remained fairly constant, and prices have moved very little, but more people seem to be finding their pay packet is too small, and access to a home appears increasingly problematic. Tightened rules from Housing
New Zealand and tighter government policies around benefit renewals are leaving some people literally out in the cold.  Then there is the impact on Māori.

Find the Vulnerability Report here

Welfare Job Equation Develops Dent

The idea of welfare reform is to move people off benefits into jobs.  That's why it is remarkable that KiwiRail (with Deputy Head Paula Rebstock) is considering axing 220 jobs as part  of a plan  to be more commercially competitive.  "Government wrote down the value of KiwiRail's land and network from $13.4 billion to $6.7 billion last month."  What makes it all the more remarkable, is Paula Rebstock is chairing the board overseeing Benefit Reform - a body we would have thought would be keen on maximising job numbers.

 Meantime Timaru's port company is losing all its container work (i.e. 50 jobs) after shipping lines Maersk and Hamburg Sud advised they were withdrawing their combined service this September.

Green Paper for Vulnerable Children not White yet

It all started when we wrote all those submissions on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children.  Then UNICEF and others had this bright idea of collecting lots of our submissions together, going through them, and using them to write a paper about what it would take to reach Green Paper goals for our children to "thrive, belong and achieve."

Media mayhem followed.There were 'fears vital services would be cut,'  and 3 news, Morning Report, Radio NZ Nine to Noon  all had features.  Then there was the NZ Herald's editorial about funding  focusing on the most vulnerable only.  It lost the proportionate universality idea - the idea that children all do best when there are universal basic provisions, and then increasingly specialised targeted provisions for those with higher of specialist needs.

Enter Owen Glenn and his $80 million towards preventing child abuse, starting with an $8 million dollar project in Otara.

Finally, the Child Poverty Action Group got leave to take its case about discrimination against beneficiary families  unable to access the In In Work Tax Credit, part of the Working for Families package with an aim to alleviate child poverty, to the Court of Appeal.  The Greens have welcomed the decision.  According to CPAG research, poverty is the biggest barrier to children thriving.

We're not sure if it is related, but the release of the White Paper for Vulnerable Children is going to be delayed. Maybe government is being a bit more careful after class size changes were quashed.  Maybe it really is just a very difficult task. Maybe there has  just been a bit too much focus on vulnerable children lately.   Whatever it is, there will be two volumes coming up: volume one  laying out exactly what government wants to do, and then volume two  which has all the underpinning thinking.

Read the latest here

Local Government may lack Well Being(s)

Submissions are due this Friday on changes to the Local Government Act 2002. Readers may be interested in the plan to change the purpose of the Act and remove the provision for " local authorities to play a broad role in promoting social, economic, environmental, and cultural well being of their communities."  In its place  is the most cost effective provision of services.  There is also provision to reorganise responsibilities or boundaries  by the Minister which appears to reduce people's democratic rights.

In Brief:

Inquiry into Children's Health

The Health Select Committee has been hearing evidence about preventing child abuse and improving children's health.  Evidence has included how foetal alcohol syndrome is bad news according to Children's Commissioner Russell Wills, and children with it have a higher risk of both being on the wrong side of the law and ending up in jail.  It does not end there.  According to Kim Workman, they are often given a hard time by other prisoners.  Labour is concerned about the impact of alcohol advertising

One thing likely to help our babies is they will now be enrolled with their GP soon after their birth so they are more likely to receive their early life immunisations (one of the governemnt's key goals).

Home based support

Government is putting a greater focus on home based support for rehabilitating older persons, based on Waikato's example.


PHA Conference 2012
Equity from the start – valuing our children

3-5 September, Pipitea Campus, Wellington

 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards

The Award aims to recognise someone who has used mobile technology to solve a problem for their community or used mobile technology to bring a community together.
 Other categories include:
- University of Auckland Award for Leadership – offering tuition for the University of Auckland of up to $6,000 per annum.
- Weta Workshop Award for Creativity – offering a paid internship at Weta Workshop.
- Air New Zealand Innovation Award – offering a place on Air New Zealand’s Aviation Institute’s first year pre-employment aircraft maintenance training programme to the value of $7,400.
- Cogita Software Award for Inspiration – offering an inspiring educational overseas trip worth up to $5,000, more

Application forms are available at  Applications close on August 27, 2012.

Last Word

What would I do if I was dependent upon government funding? I would be looking closely at where and how my organisation is making a difference now. I'd look at the quality of our partnerships, collaborative approaches and ability to deliver wrap-around services. I'd be moving intentionally towards developing a family and community hub with a co-location of complementary integrated services and shared technology.

I'd look to see if my organisation is located in the best place in the community, meeting the highest needs. I'd be bringing key people together to examine our capability for innovative practice. I'd be looking at our funding base and asking if we'd become too dependent on government funding.

I'd also be asking the organisation to reflect, do some developmental evaluation and look again at our vision and involvement in God's mission in the world. And I'd be wanting to pray together – a lot.

from Lyn Campbell, National Team leader, Baptist Community Ministries

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