Policy Watch August 2019

Let us carefully cultivate hope, that small flower which we should always bring to those in need. Suzanne Aubert

Welcome to the latest Policy Watch e-letter highlighting the latest news, research and policy developments relevant to NZCCSS’ core mission to work for a just and compassionate society in Aotearoa New Zealand.

It’s been all go this month for the team at NZCCSS as we finalise our joint conference with Community Network Aotearoa – Tātou, tātou e! The value of relationships in building wellbeing (27th and 28th August). Registrations have closed, but if you’ve missed out on attending, the September edition of Kete Kupu will provide a summary of the whole event.

Privacy Act guidance for landlords and tenants

New guidelinesThe Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) has produced a new set of guidelines outlining what information should and should not be collected by landlords when deciding whether someone will make a suitable tenant. These guidelines are aimed at landlords in the private sector in response to media reports last year that potential tenants were asked for unjustified information such as bank accounts that could be used to discriminate. The guidelines provide clarity on what information can and cannot be sought by a landlord. Share this important information around our networks.

Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki – update

Tūhoe and OT – As we await an update on the four inquiries into Oranga Tamariki (OT) handling of the uplift of a Māori pēpe in the Hawkes Bay, the signing of a relationship agreement between Tūhoe and OT to work together to move at-risk children out of state care and into safe, loving homes – connected with their wider whānau is an important announcement and a step in the right direction.

Māori-led Inquiry – A second national hui into OT has ratified the terms of reference that determines the scope and purpose of the independent investigation into both historic and contemporary child uplifts by the Ministry for Children.“This will be a ground-breaking and reflective framework, pulled together under guidance of our Patron, Sir Mason Durie. We’re going out into the regions through our partner network in the communities to listen because they live, breathe and know their whānau the best,” said Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Chair of Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency. The governing group identified on the Terms of reference is simply formidable, including Dame Tariana Turia, Sir Mason Durie, and Sir Pita Sharples. NZCCSS looks forward to the fruits of this work and will keep members updated.

Housing

Homelessness –  The government has announced $54 million for further initiatives to support at-risk individuals and whānau to stay in their existing tenancy. Supports include budget advice, mental health and addiction support and additional wrap around services. Understanding vulnerable people may need practical support to remain in housing, rather than simply labelling them ‘bad tenants’ and eviction, is an important step towards ending homelessness and improving wellbeing.

New research to support housing WOF and boosted incomes -The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) are pointing to new research from the University of Otago to support their call to the Government not to delay a comprehensive Warrant of Fitness for tenanted homes. The study led by Dr Tristram Ingram found that 20 percent of hospital admissions for acute respiratory infections in children under 2 years could have been prevented through “healthier housing conditions”. Children who became ill were more likely to be in poor quality, rented homes, experiencing poverty and living conditions. This study is one of many reports on the importance of healthy housing to child health. What is new is that we have the Welfare Advisory Expert Group (WEAG) ‘s report: Whakamana Tāngata – Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand, as a blueprint to lift the income of our poorest children and their families. CPAG wants to see the WEAG recommendations urgently implemented so we can see the improvement in children’s health and life outcomes. A call supported across child advocacy groups, including NZCCSS.

Spotlight in our members

Social Justice Week (8-14 September) –  Each year the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand set aside a week in September for Social Justice Week, inviting us to reflect and take action on a current social justice issue. This year Caritas will focus on fairness. In the 1920s, Cardinal Joseph Cardijn founded the Young Christian Workers who worked on a range of social justice causes. He developed the See-Judge-Act method as a way to reorient one’s life toward social justice and solidarity. This method, grounded in Catholic social teaching, is a way of looking at a situation, analysing it, and taking appropriate action. It can be used by groups, families or individuals with a journal and the Holy Spirit as our guide. It is divided into three sections:

  • SEE – TIROHIA helps us name what is causing us concern. We observe and immerse ourselves in the lives of those living with injustice.
  • JUDGE – WĀNANGATIA is a moment of discernment. We analyse the situation and make an informed judgment involving theological reflection, such as Catholic social teaching and scripture, and social analysis.
  • ACT – MAHIA is making a plan for action, providing resources and ideas on how to act in solidarity and empower those who live with injustice.

Caritas invites individuals and communities to use this methodology to reflect on what is fair and unfair in their own context, and act toward fairness in our world.

Resources

Reconsidering the Aotearoa New Zealand Criminal Justice Policy Model – The Salvation Army has produced the first of three briefing notes to be issued over the next two months. The series will explore key issues in criminal justice policy, beginning with an exploration of some fundamental questions in this note, a programme analysis in note two, and culminating in a set of policy approaches which will appear in the third note.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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