Social Security System fit for the next 80 years

MEDIA RELEASE:   Tuesday 18th September 2018

Social Security System Fit for the next 80 years – lift incomes and enable participation

Let us look after each other

Eighty years after the introduction of the first comprehensive social security laws in New Zealand in 1938, our country is once again taking on the challenge of designing a welfare system that will meet the needs of all people in 21st Century Aotearoa New Zealand.

The founders of the welfare system in this country were driven by deeply-held values. They drew on values of concern for others, that we are all our “neighbour’s keeper” coming out of the Christian faith of leaders such as then Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage. Those values are shared across all the great religions and indeed underpin our wider values of human rights and social justice.

“Aroha tetāhi ki tetāhi – let us look after each other, is the way we draw on these values to describe the hope we have for our country,” says NZCCSS President, Ian Hutson. “Our vision for welfare in this country must be for one that enables people rather than impoverishing them. The priority must be to deliver sufficient income and other support so that whānau and families can thrive.”

“We look forward to a welfare system that engages from a Tiriti o Waitangi perspective with Māori. We seek a welfare system that results in wellbeing for Pacific peoples and for other ethnic communities.”

“Our health and social welfare system needs the vision of ensuring those living with disabilities and health conditions can live their lives with dignity, participate fully in our communities and experience outcomes that are equal to or better than those without disability,” says Ian Hutson.

Our society is out of balance, with too many people missing out on what they need to even properly participate in our community and society. NZCCSS member organisations are working for changes to welfare that will be focused on whānau and families who live in the communities they work with throughout the country. Welfare benefit levels are too low and the system of additional support is inadequate, too complicated and unfair.

The Welfare Expert Advisory Group is working on a re-design of our whole welfare system, it has a wide brief to shape changes to welfare that could align with the NZCCSS vision. The Government is also about to pass a modernised version of the Social Security Act, replacing the current one passed more than 50 years ago in 1964.

This is our chance to get it right, to bring fairness and genuine concern for others back into our welfare system. Find out more about our vision on social welfare at www.nzccss.org.nz