Policy Watch 20 June 2017

Go. Put your hands to the plough. Look not back. If any come with guns and swords be not afraid. If they smite you, smite not in return.

If they rend you, be not discouraged. Another will take up the good work.

Te Whiti o Rongomai

..”This is a day when we need to look back at the history of the Crown’s actions at Parihaka and acknowledge the suffering those actions have caused for generations of people at Parihaka. This is an important part of reconciliation. But it is also a day when we look forward to a future where the vision of Parihaka is finally achieved. For the vision of Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai was not one of protest and resistance. Theirs was a vision of self-determination, cooperation and peace. In the past the Crown felt threatened by that vision and sought to undermine it. Today the Crown comes to Parihaka to make a contribution to the fulfilment of that vision. Parihaka has waited a long time for this day “. Hon Chris Finlayson, Attorney-General.

Welcome to the latest Policy Watch e-newsletter and for this edition we begin with an acknowledgment of the indignities committed by the Crown 140 years ago on the people at Parihaka. For many New Zealanders the magnitude of what occurred was not told, leaving wounds unhealed for generations. But today we have hope for meaningful reconciliation between the Crown and Parihaka. The Crowns’ public apology on June 9, 2017 and offer of restoration, could be seen to go some way to restore the dignity of the men, women and children who suffered at Parihaka and the soldiers who committed these historic crimes. And in so doing the realisation of Tohu Kakahi and te Whiti o Rongomai’s original vision of self-determination, cooperation and peace….. can begin again….

Child and family

The UN is Watching – We still aren’t doing as well as we might think when it comes to child health and wellbeing according to the latest Innocenti Report Card. The report focuses on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ranks 41 OECD countries on how they are doing against each goal. New Zealand is ranked 38th out of 41 countries for child health and well-being. CPAG have called for government to translate SDGs into programmes and public investments”, while UNICEF New Zealand national advocacy manager Prudence Stone said New Zealand was failing its children in some very important ways.The comments about adolescent suicide were particularly damning. The report found New Zealand had the worst rate in the world at 15.6 per 100,000 people in the designated age bracket (15-19). Read the full report

Re-thinking investment approach – Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is calling for social investment priorities for a New Zealand where all children can flourish. CPAG Social Security Spokesperson Associate Professor Mike O’Brien says, “The evidence internationally is clear – investment needs to be in all children and families, not just in a specially targeted group of ‘vulnerable children’.

In light of the UN report above, we may need to rethink the scope and scale of public capital to support children both at a universal and targeted level.

MVOT Bed not a police cell for vulnerable children – Stories of young people in police cells due to a shortage of MVCOT (Ministry of Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki) places for youth offenders continue to hit the headlines. The dearth of beds available in community settings for youth offenders is not a new issue, and it precedes the establishment of MVCOT. What has changed is government’s public commitment to child-centred policies and cross agency approach to vulnerable children and young people. What this should means in the context of youth offending is an increase in the availability (aka funding) of secure MVCOT beds in community settings to enable professionals to assess a young persons’ background and living situation, to support sustained efforts to turn their lives around. Plonking youth offenders into a police cell and leaving them alone and unsupported simply does not constitute a child-centred policy. The Children’s Commissioner Judge Beacroft is forthright in his condemnation of this situation, calling on government to remove legislative provisions that allow youth offenders to be detained in police cells, and to better resource youth offending facilities in communities. Adding to this frustration, is recent data from the Ministry of Social Development indicates 13 out of 59 houses are empty, accounting for 80 bedrooms that could be used to home vulnerable youth.

Should we pay carers? Yes is the short answer. RNZ interview with by Lucy Standford Reed, who ran a family home in the 1980s and is currently head of Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, discusses the realities of being a caregiver and the need to pay caregivers so they can provide full-time support of children in care. “The concept of family homes is quite good, but we need skilled people who are there professionally and who have the right qualifications and capacity to work with these people.” The Children’s Commissioner also supports the payment of caregivers, along with more training of support carers to support neglected children and young people “The reality is the children we’re talking about come from… disadvantaged and damaged backgrounds. It’s not a job for the faint-hearted, it’s not a job for the well-meaning amateur. It needs adults who have, yes, an altruistic commitment, but they need to be trained and supported and properly paid. And I think that’s well known now.”

Update from the Race relations Commissioner

Taika Waititi Give Nothing to Racism Campaign – There may have been raised eyebrows when the squash champion Dame Susan Devoy was appointed New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner but that is well and truly in the past. The Commissioner has more than grasped the insidious nature of racism as demonstrated by her latest move to name the issue up front and start a public debate. Dame Susan reports one in three formal complaints to the Human Rights Commission concerns racial discrimination, adding the ..’majority of people never complained when they were humiliated or abused. The ‘Give Nothing To Racism’ campaign is fronted by Taika Waititi and effectively captures the silence of racism experienced by people in New Zealand.

Spotlight on our members

Winter is Coming – The demands of winter have seen thousands of Kiwis who don’t normally need help coming to The Salvation Army.  Families have been particularly hard hit. Salvation Army data reports the number of families seeking support is up from 16, 127 to 18,949, a 17% increase.

Older People

Elder Abuse Awareness Week  – ‘Elder Abuse Hits Close to Home‘ is the theme of 2017 Elder Abuse Awareness Week. Age Concern tells us that this theme was chosen to highlight the fact that thousands of older New Zealanders are being financially, psychologically and physically abused by their own adult children or grandchildren. Three quarters of alleged abusers are family members and most abuse takes place in people’s own homes.

Equal Pay Settlement was passed by Parliament and came into law on the 14th June, and means on 1st July 2017 aged care workers will receive significant pay increases. While enjoying the support of the whole sector, NZCCSS member agencies and others in the sector are struggling with very tight timeline for implementation and problems with how the Ministry of Health is calculating the costs.

Congratulations to Enliven, the Presbyterian Support aged care service, that has been named New Zealand’s Most Trusted Aged Care and Retirement Villages Brand in 2017. The award comes through the Readers Digest Most Trusted Brand Survey whose respondents who highlighted Enliven’s not-for-profit values, genuine care, honesty and high quality services and support. National spokesperson for Presbyterian Support, Gillian Bremner, welcomed the award that she sees as recognition for the work that Presbyterian Support does that seeks to put “people first and foremost”. People’s trust “is not something we’d ever take for granted”, she says, and the award means that  as an organisation we are providing services to a consistently high standard.

Caring the Pacfic Way: Using a music video to share the results of research is a creative way Auckland researchers are using to communicate their work on the experience of older Pacific adults with end-of-life care. Check out the Valiant Boys music video and accompanying commentary that the research team are wanting to see used in nurse training and education.

Workforce issues

Mandatory registration for social workers – It’s been a long time coming but mandatory registration for social workers now looks a certainty. The Social Workers Registration Act 2003 signalled the first step towards requiring the registration of social workers, with provisions for voluntary registration. Fourteen years on, and legislation is currently being drafted to mandate registration for social workers. This follows Minister Anne Tolley’s announcement earlier this month. A bill is expected to be introduced before Parliament in August. This legislation will also restrict the use of the term social worker to those with recognized qualifications, skills and experience. A two year transition period is proposed before full implementation. NZCCSS members support in principal mandatory registration, but remain concerned about the cost barriers to the community sector, which has not seen any increase to its funding for over 8 years. These concerns have also been raised by Social Service Provider Aotearoa’s National Manager,Brenda Pilot.

New landscape

Empowerment & Success: A Positive Path for the NGO Sector – NZCCSS, Executive Officer, Trevor McGlinchey’s recent blog sets the scene for an upcoming joint NZCCSS and Community Networks Aotearoa (CNA) conference in October 2017. The conference, entitled Empowerment & Success: A Positive Path for the NGO Sector, will take place on the 26th and 27th of October at the Quality Hotel Lincoln Green in Auckland. This two-day event will have something to offer not only our member organisations and their networks but all involved sector-wide. So, save the date and watch this space as more detailed information becomes available!

Family violence Update

A Family Violence Summit –  A Family Violence Summit was held at Te Wharewaka in Wellington on Wednesday 7 June 2017, chaired by Sir Wira Gardiner and co-hosted by Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley. The Summit supports work already underway as part of the Government’s family violence reforms, which includes the introduction of the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill. Participants came from broad cross-section of groups involved in combating family violence – NGOs, support workers, victims, and former perpetrators and participated in workshops about earlier intervention, supporting vulnerable population groups, helping children and their whānau live without family violence and kaupapa Māori whanau-centred approaches. The Summit themes were: i) Helping children and their whānau to live without family violence,ii) Kaupapa Māori whānau-centred approaches, iii) Taking opportunities to intervene earlier iv) Supporting seniors, people with disabilities and migrant communities.

New Family Violence Frameworks – At the Summit Minister Anne Tolley launched two new frameworks to support the family violence sector to provide consistent and effective help to victims and perpetrators:

  1. The Family Violence Risk Assessment and Management Framework promotes a common approach to screening, assessing and managing risk
  2. Family Violence, Sexual Violence and Violence within the Whānau; Workforce Capability aims to build workforce and community sector capability to respond safely and respectfully to people experiencing, affected by, and perpetrating family violence, sexual violence and violence within whānau.

Family and Whānau Violence legislation Bill – Submissions on the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill have now closed. The Justice and Electoral Select Committee are hearing oral submissions and are due to report back on 11 October.  NZCCSS submission supported the overall purpose and principles of the Bill but expressed disappointment the draft changes did not include an explicit reference to a framework for a national preventative strategy.

It’s all about the data

Individual client level data – Minister for Children Anne Tolley and Social Investment Minister Amy Adams have announced the Social Investment Agency and Statistics New Zealand are to lead a working group to agree on an approach to collecting client level data that is scalable, and builds on and maintains trust and confidence. In the meantime, Oranga Tamariki are advising providers they no longer require client level data from 1 July 2017.

Other news

National Volunteer Week 18-24 June 2017  – Each year New Zealand celebrates National Volunteer Week to recognise and celebrate the vital contribution of New Zealand’s approximately 1.2 million volunteers in areas as diverse as social development, the economy and the environment. NZCCSS wishes to thank all of the volunteer workers across our network for their tireless contribution to their communities and our organisations.

Opportunities for the Not for Profit Sector!

Who did you help today: Help Trust  –  A new digital marketplace that aims to provide the not for profit sector with more specialist skills pro-bono is now LIVE!  HelpTank will connect skilled volunteers and community organisations, so that not for profits get the specialist help they need, when they need it. The Who Did You Help Today Trust developed HelpTank in recognition that not for profits deliver vital services, and need sufficient specialist help to maximise the positive changes your organisation makes. The Trust is planning to gradually upscale HelpTank, and is keen to hear from not for profits who are in need of a specialist skill NOW. The site will have a supply of skilled professionals looking for volunteer opportunities from mid-June.For example, Z Energy, our foundation partner who has supported the development of HelpTank both financially and through skilled volunteering, will have staff looking to fulfil their two-days’ volunteer leave entitlement.Visit helptank.nz, or contact team@helptank.nz with any questions, or if you’ve got a project you’d like to fill now. Email team@helptank.nz if you want to receive our newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for updates.We’d love to hear from you, as we’re here to help. Together, we can grow the helping movement in New Zealand!

New Resources

Sort Guide to Good Renting – Tenancy Services have just published an update of the very useful Renting and You booklet to help those new to renting both as tenants and as landlords. They have also developed a shorter, easier to digest version called A Short Guide to Good Renting. These guides are also available in several languages: Māori, Chinese, Cook Islands Māori, Tongan, Samoan, Arabic and Korean.

PSA Progressive Thinking – A new resource from PSA is talking tax but not from the usual perspective. This resource features ten leading authors, academics and campaigners writing journalistically on a broad range of topics in tax theory and policy, including contributions from Max Rashbrooke, Susan St John, Shamubeel Eaqub, Morgan Godfery and more.

Community Law Manual 2017/2018 – The updated edition includes:

New chapter, “Immigration”: Immigration law is notoriously complicated and policies can change really often, making it difficult for refugees, immigrants and community workers to keep up. This new chapter explains how New Zealand’s immigration system works, with content about: applying for visas, how to claim refugee status, deportation, what your options are if you’re here illegally, when and how you can challenge decisions by Immigration NZ and more. Special rates for SSPA network – Standard price is $150(+GST) per copy, but Community Law Centre offers community organisations bulk rates.

The Last word goes to Suzanne Aubert.

Let us carefully cultivate hope, that small flower which we should always bring to those in need. (Directory 30, Page 44)

Suzanne Aubert