Policy Watch 14 March 2017

Lent is a time to receive God’s breath of life, a breath that saves humanity from suffocating under the weight of selfishness, indifference and piety devoid of sincerity”

Pope Francis

Welcome to the latest Policy Watch e-newsletter and for this edition we reflect on the Lenten season and our forty day journey to prepare for Easter and a closer relationship with God.

Prayer, fasting, repentance, and giving, are all part of this special journey and later in the newsletter we have links to a range of Lenten resources for 2017.

This edition also reflects on the Race Relation’s Commissioner, Dame Susan Devoy’s call for a national apology to Maori for institutional bias that led thousands of Maori children during the 1950s and 1980s to become state wards, often for very trivial reasons. As we now know, the experience of many of these children in state care was simply horrendous. This is a story we all must know, and learn from, so that it is never repeated again under a well-meaning guise.

Legislative Update

Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) legislation Bill – The bill seeks to make significant amendments to the Children, Young Persons and Their Families legislation and will underpin the direction (and scope) of the work of the Ministry of Vulnerable Children (Oranga Tamariki). Significant Maori organisations and leaders have strongly opposed this bill, believing it does not get to grips with the issues for Maori in state care. In response to these concerns, NZCCSS joined with its alliance partner, Te Kahui Atawhai O Te Motu (TKAM), to develop a joint submission, which covers four key issues : 1) the absence of authentic consultation with Maori, 2) the preservation of the whanau first principle, which sat at the heart 1989 Act.3) more support for whanau to care for tamariki and rangatahi needed, and 4) the need to acknowledge and address the link between poverty, inequality and child neglect.

Support for victims of domestic abuse – Parliament has backed MP Jan Logie’s Members Bill to enable victims of domestic abuse to receive 10 days of paid leave from employers help them move house, attend court hearings and consult with lawyers. This is a great step forward and demonstrates increased societal awareness of the harm done by domestic abuse and the need to support victims to make change.

Procurement capability

What do you think of government procurement – The Social Services Procurement Capability Team has been established within MBIE and wants to hear from organisations about experiences with government procurement. This includes procurement by any government department, ministry, crown entity, district health board, tertiary education institution or local authority, not just MBIE with government contracts. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete and is open until the April 5th 2017. MBIE will publish a report outlining the findings of the survey later this year. For further information contact procurement@mbie.govt.nz.

Foster care Awareness Week

Foster care families receive award – Awards for excellence in foster care were presented by Minister Anne Tolley, Minister for Children to ten extraordinary foster care families, hosted by Governor-General Rt Hon Patsy Reddy, at Government House.  Minister Tolley said “I was delighted to meet and talk to these wonderful families, and to thank them for their patience, resilience and strength”.


$600k pay gap – The Human Rights Commission has calculated men are paid $600k more than women over their career and has launched a new project – the $600k gap- to both raise awareness and create a space for women to share their experiences, concerns and advice when talking money with the Boss.  The other part of this equation is how often do men participate in household “unpaid’ jobs and childcare? Time to also have conversations with men about who cleans the toilet and cares for young and old family members?

Work and Income

Additional role for MSD guards raises concerns – Security guards have been taking on jobs usually confined to WINZ receptionists, and its causing a bit of a stir, not least from the security guards themselves. Training to ask people to leave a bar or function is one thing, but to cope with people who are naturally very stressed by their circumstances, who may have complex needs and require urgent assistance, is a big ask even for a security guard.

Older people

HBH Senior Living buys Stevenson Village – Here’s an example of how Christian social services are taking action right now to respond to the growing need for affordable housing for older people. HBH Senior Living (formerly called Howick Baptist Healthcare) has purchased Stevenson Village, a 36 unit complex providing low cost housing for older people. The village opened in 1975 as a charitable joint venture between the Howick RSA and Sir William and Lady Stevenson, to provide accommodation for returned servicemen and more recently for older people who require social housing. In October this year Stevenson Village Trust decided it was time to hand over the mission of the Village to another provider and placed the Village on the market. The Trust is delighted that HBH Senior Living will be the new owner.

InSite – The aged care sector magazine InSite is now fully online and provides a great source of news and information about the aged care sector. This article from February is a good update of situation for those providing social services in aged care.

Personal Data

ComVoice calls for a pause on data –  Com Voices has called for Government to pause on new requirements to gather and share identifiable data about clients accessing services. In a letter to Ministers ComVoices has ask for work to stop while further work with community organisations is undertaken to develop an information system that delivers on the big picture information sought, but respects individual privacy, and is sustainable for providers who will have to gather information.


Health and Disability Research – The Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) is undertaking a public consultation about health and disability research involving adult participants who are unable to provide informed consent to participate in the research. The consultation close on Sunday 30 April 2017.

Home Insulation Research –  If government is looking for a good return on our tax dollars, you can’t look further than home insulation according to new research.  Motu Economics looked at 45,000 homes retrofitted with insulation under the Warm Up NZ programme and found a 6 dollar benefit to every dollar spent.  University of Otago health professional Phillippa Howden-Chapman said the research ..” is probably the strongest evidence the government has about social investment, including that if houses are warmer children are more likely to go to school and less likely to get sick.

What’s on?

Equality Network Hui, Wellington, Friday 24th March – This hui is for NGO organisations wanting to bring about social change.  Contact Rae Julian -021 708 288.

Child Matters – Road show for volunteers and volunteering organisations: your responsibility to safeguard children.  Check out this upcoming road show around the country to educate organisations to keep children safe from abuse.

Keeping Faith in Politics Election 2017 lecture series – This is the first of a series of lectures building up to the 2017 election. The first is Seeking the Common Good in a World of Self-Interest  6:30pm, 30 March, Venue: Wellington Cathedral, Rev. Dr Ellie Sanderson, (Canon Theological Diocese of Wellington)

Other Resources

Off the track: State of the Nation Report (10th edition) – The Salvation Army has released this now iconic report, which takes a tramping metaphor and an inspiring poem by Robert frost and asks Are we still on the track to a shared prosperity as a national community or have we started to wander off this track? Well worth a read.

Lent Resources

There is something here for all denominations.





Salvation Army


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