Policy Watch 19th August

policy-watch-480x400“This is a different strata of community that we are talking about.

We are used to seeing the rough sleepers. We know what they look like in Queens Street …

These are mums and dads that look and sound like us between the hours of 8am and 4pm but after 4pm they are going to crisis mode looking for places to sleep. It’s not good enough”.

Hurimoana Dennis, Te Puea Memorial Marae

Welcome to the latest Policy Watch e-newsletter and for this edition we reflect on New Zealand’s new Covenant/Kawenta for children.

This aspirational document was developed by Judge Carolyn Henwood and Sir Mark Wiremu Solomon following a process of careful consultation. The document is intended to focus a national conversation about who we are as New Zealanders and what our values are for our children, today and in the future. It is aspirational because there is hope the Covenant/Kawenta for children will surround every piece of New Zealand legislation and policy that impacts on children.

Hurimoana Dennis’ comments are then a sobering reminder about why 21st Century New Zealand needs such a vision.

With almost 305,000 New Zealand children living in poverty, and a significant number of these children likely to go on to need the care and protection services of the newly named Ministry for Vulnerable Children, it is timely for a national conversation about how a group of New Zealand children came to this point, and why a new vision for our children is so very much needed.

Spotlight on NZCCSS members

Going Down – Margaret Martin, Sisters of Mercy Wiri, and NZCCSS Council member, has penned this perceptive insight into housing.

We all have a migration story – Migration is the theme selected by the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand for this year’s Social Justice Week (11-17 September). Caritas New Zealand has produced a wonderful array of resource to support people to reflect on their own migration story.


One One in 100 kiwis are homeless – is this acceptable? – This is the question posed by Native Affairs presenter Ward Kamo at Te Puea Memorial Marea to a range of MPs, with comments from Hurimoana Dennis, Te Puea memorial Marae, Ian Hutson, Divisional Commander, Salvation Army and NZCCSS Council member, and Darryl Evans, Mangere, Budgeting Services Trust. Well worth a watch!

Healthy Housing needed. NZCCSS was in Parliament again last week presenting to the Government Administration Select Committee in support of our submission on the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill. In our submission we emphasised the need for a child-centred approach to housing standards, the importance of heating, ventilation as well as insulation standards along with active enforcement by government. Read our full submission on our Publications page.

Children & Families

Children, Young Persons and Their Families Amendment Bill. Shortly after presenting on the housing bill, NZCCSS was back in the Select Committee room to present on our submission on this Bill. In our submission we called for clarity around what a child-centred approach means, supported the lifting of the age for care and protection to 17 and the establishment of an independent youth advocacy service. Read our full submission on our Publications page.

Privacy and Information Sharing: New Research. The Methodist Mission Southern has released research completed at the behest of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner into the use and uptake of the Privacy Act in Social Services. They have also prepared a number of resources – posters and training videos – to go with the report.  All are available at the Methodist Mission Southern website.

Poverty and Inequality

Report on Student hardship – The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has launched Laybying our future: The state of student hardship in New Zealand. The report looks at the challenges of low levels of financial support on students and recommends the reintroduction of interest on loans in return for more funding for students’ living costs.

What Happens To Those Going off Welfare Benefits? Victoria University student Alicia Sudden has surveyed and interviewed hundreds of people for her Masters Degree research to find out what happens in their lives when they leave welfare benefits. NZCCSS and others have noted that government is not monitoring what happens to people who are no longer on receiving welfare – is exiting the benefit a move to a better life? For many of those surveyed the answer was ‘No’. Find out more on the Victoria University website.

Older People

Dementia Care Home Design. A person-centred approach to the design of secure dementia units is the aim of a new resource released by the Ministry of Health in August. For some living with dementia, living in a secure dementia home is their only option and it is important to help make the quality of life of older people in secure dementia care homes as good as possible.

Needs Assessment for Older People: interRAI website. InterRAI is the name for the standardised needs assessment tool being used through all home based support and aged residential care for older people.The new website launched by interRAI NZ www.interrai.co.nz in August provides a wealth of information to showcase how far we have come in the interRAI New Zealand journey.

Upcoming Seminars/ Conferences

Better Policy – Child’s play. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) is repeating its recent workshop on child-centred policy for the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies in Wellington on 6 September. Holly Walker and Dr Kathleen Logan, OCC, have prepared a valuable workshop on child-centred thinking and tools for considering children in policy-making.

Gender Equality Conference – It’s time to walk the talk and register for the National Council of Women of New Zealand conference. While it is fair to say New Zealand has made many gains here, gender inequality remains an entrenched attitude in many spheres of life. Don’t miss this one and let’s work together for a gender equal New Zealand!