At the November NZCCSS national Council meeting the members’ Denominational Representatives approved a Briefing to Incoming Ministers (BIM) from NZCCSS. The need for this BIM to BE short, well laid out and easy to read was considered extremely important as the new government’s Ministers will have many Briefings to read. Anything too long is unlikely to be read, yet, the NZCCSS briefing must still cover its three key policy areas of Services for Older People, Impacts of Poverty and Exclusion and Child and Family.
A four-page format was selected. This allowed a cover page to introduce NZCCSS and to cover general social services issues. The following three pages allowed one page per policy area. Secretariat worked with the Policy Groups to develop specific briefings covering the most important points in each policy area. Issues, problems and solutions were presented from our members’ perspectives. NZCCSS’s recommendations to address issues and to create a policy environment which better addressed the needs of those our members serve were highlighted. The headlines of the briefing are set out below:
- Members are imbedded in the communities they serve and help to build strong and resilient lives
- This resilience is impacted by the inequities introduced by the neo-liberal reforms of the 1980s and 1990s
- The market based contracting and tendering system for social services is wasteful of resources; and has
- Introduced competitiveness into community, family and whanau support systems which work best when they collaborate not compete
- The added value contributed by community based service providers is being lost through this contacting approach
- Service providers are under huge financial stress and an immediate response of increased financial support is required so they can continue to meet the needs in communities.
POVERTY AND EXCLUSION:
- Poverty is caused by insufficient income and systems that’s support people to have enough income are needed.
- This will require wages and working conditions to be built up to ensure people have security of work and sufficient income for their labour – the Living wage is a making a difference for many.
- Benefits need to set at a liveable level and indexed to the median wage
- The government systems that are supposed to support people are not working, particularly Work and Income, these must be set up to ensure they are working for the people – including paying full entitlements and stopping sanctions
- Housing must be addressed – this should include:
- Systems to ensure people in transitional homes have quick access to enhanced income related rents so they can quickly move from transitional to permanent housing, with supports.
- There must be a significant increase in state and community housing
- The quality of rental housing must be improved
CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND WHANAU
- Oranga Tamariki must work more collaboratively with the community sector
- The families and whanau our members work with are very complex and high levels of skill and experience are needed to support them
- Some government agencies practice of seeing the child as somehow disconnected from the family or whanau id incorrect – we need systems that work on the strengths of the family whanau as a unit
- We need a Child, Family and Whanau Impact assessment across all legislation. This assessment would require governments to consider the impact of emerging law of children, families and whanau.
- Put in place, regularly review and monitor child poverty targets and develop a cross-party accord which stretches beyond the term of any government
- Government must work more closely with community social services and engage pro-actively with community organisations to develop systems and process which achieve string and thriving communities, whanau and families.
OLDER PEOPLE & THEIR COMMUNITIES
- Poverty in older New Zealanders is growing as more people are reaching retirement without owning homes or with significant retirement
- This is driving the need for more, better quality rental homes for older people
- A comprehensive, future focused review of the way we fund aged care is required
- Our members are pleased that their carers have achieved pay-equity, the way this funded must be reviewed and the funding system reflect the actual costs
- Home and community support services are working with more complex cases and funding needs to reflect this greater complexity
- The Healthy Aging Strategy must be followed and annual reporting against its measures is required
The full NZCCSS BIM is available on our Research and Submissions page.