O le ala i le pule, o le tautua

The path to leadership is through service. (Samoan proverb)

Tēnā koe

Welcome to the April/May issue of Policy Watch. This first quarter of the year has seen plenty of activity generated by the Beehive, with the NZCCSS policy team completing a significant number of submissions over the last month. This issue provides a summary of that mahi, along with items on:

  • The launch of ‘The Seven Steps to a Fairer Future’
  • Release of the Older Workers Employment Action Plan
  • New Zealand Youth Parliament 2022 submissions
  • Ministry for Disabled People developments
  • NZCCSS member-organisation Visionwest wins big at Westpac business awards
  • A deeper dive into the Social Insurance Scheme
  • Free Fares campaign extends

Kia Kaha
The Team at NZCCSS

Summary of recent NZCCSS submissions

The NZCCSS policy team has been hard at work on a number of submissions on government policy and initiatives. Here’s a summary of the mahi with links to the submissions:

Income Insurance Scheme
NZCCSS welcomes the positive step to ensure some security in economically uncertain times. However, our concern is that such a scheme essentially creates a two-tier welfare system, and, subsequently moralises paid work. Instead, we encourage the incorporation of

many of the ideas and concepts of the proposed scheme into core welfare legislation – for the betterment of all New Zealanders.
Read more here >

Reducing Pokies Harm
We tautoko the kaupapa to create a safer space for those struggling with gambling addictions, particularly with pokie machines. Our member organisations regularly confront the effects of harmful gambling in communities, and we support the efforts to alleviate this stress. We believe that evidence-based policy alongside more funding for targeted services is necessary to prevent problem gamblers from simply moving to more unregulated spaces to gamble.
Read more here >

He Ara Āwhina – the monitoring framework for the mental health and addiction system
NZCCSS shares the aspirations and outcomes underpinning He Ara Āwhina. However, we think a number of changes would improve the framework as proposed – such as ensuring connection and collaboration, recognising the needs of specific audiences and increasing inclusivity for all New Zealanders.
Read more here >

Foundations for Change – Amending New Zealand’s Social Security Act 2018-2022
The intent of the proposed amendments to New Zealand’s Social Security Act is welcome but NZCCSS sees a need for further clarification and strengthening so that the Act is both aspirational and focused on human dignity. Most importantly, the amendments need to provide confidence that those in need will receive sufficient support to counter growing poverty and inequality within Aotearoa.
Read more here >

Regulation of Aotearoa New Zealand Residential Property Management Sector
NZCCSS views the regulation of property management as a profession, as the next logical step to ensure the best care and consideration towards our communities. We recommend that the scope of the proposed regulations needs to be extended to include individuals managing their own properties (‘owner managers’), including social housing providers such as Kāinga Ora.
Read more here >

Social Cohesion Framework
While supportive of the Government’s commitment to social cohesion, NZCCSS questions the development of a framework, before ensuring that there is deep and genuine understanding of what already exists across the motu.
Read more here >

Firearms Protection Order legislation
NZCCSS broadly supports the kaupapa to reduce access to firearms for violent offenders – our member organisations regularly deal with the effects of firearms violence in communities. However, we question the scope of the proposed legislation’s application, specifically as it relates to the Family Violence Act 2018. We also question the capacity to

monitor the efficacy of restricting contact with licenced firearms owners.
Read more here >

Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways green paper
NZCCSS supports the strengthening and modernisation of the science and innovation sector to better generate an innovative research environment – especially making research relevant, multidisciplinary and inclusive. And, we strongly support embedding Te Tiriti into the core of our research system. However, we seek assurance that equity-focused, community-led research will not be lost in this new dynamic.
Read more here >

See all NZCCSS submissions on our website here.

Seven Steps for a Fairer Future

Fairer Future today released ‘Seven Steps for a Fairer Future’, a plan of action outlining key changes needed in Aotearoa New Zealand’s welfare system to unlock whānau and tamariki from poverty.

While acknowledging the steps Government has taken to lift incomes and improve the welfare system, in releasing ‘Seven Steps’, the Fairer Future collaboration is calling on the Government to increase core benefit levels to the standard of liveable incomes. It proposes an increase to the minimum wage to the level of the living wage to catch up with the rising cost of living. It adds to these steps five policy changes: an increase in the Disability Allowance, a changing of ‘relationship rules’ in the welfare system, the removal of sanctions, the wiping of debt owed to the Ministry for Social Development, and improving supplementary assistance and urgent grants.

The plan comes on the back of Fairer Future’s research released in March that showed the lifts in income support announced in last year’s Budget will still leave some families around $165 -$300 short of what is needed every week to meet core costs to participate in society.

Thirty-seven organisations from across Aotearoa, including unions, frontline service providers and child poverty experts, have endorsed the plan.

Read the ‘Seven Steps for a Fairer Future’ report here.

Learn more about Fairer Future here.

Pre-budget speech outline’s National’s focus for economy

In a pre-budget speech this afternoon, National Party leader Christopher Luxon outlined National’s economic focus on five key areas – education and training, infrastructure, technology, business environment, and connection to the world.

Listen to the speech as captured on Stuff here.

Older Workers Employment Action Plan launched

The Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni and Minister for Seniors Dr Ayesha Verrall last week launched the Older Workers Employment Action Plan (OWEAP). The plan aims to support older people to stay in the workforce and transition their skills as they age and their circumstances change.

According to Dr Verrall, older workers make up around a third of the workforce and almost half of New Zealanders aged between 65 to 69 are employed.

One of six population-specific employment action plans, the OWEAP focuses on people aged 50 years and over. The plan contains 11 action items, with a focus on training and upskilling, finding and staying in work, supporting employers to be more inclusive, and planning for the effects and opportunities of an aging workforce.

NZCCSS welcomes the plan as a positive step forward but strongly advocates for a proportion of the research to be dedicated to evaluating existing products and innovations, greater use of service providers and the community in undertaking research, and the engagement of older workers themselves to develop and deliver research.

Read more here.

Be in quick to make a submission for Youth Parliament 2022

Submissions for the 10th New Zealand Youth Parliament close on 5 May. The Youth Parliament is held every three years, and is a unique opportunity for young New Zealanders to learn first-hand about the country’s democracy, influence government decision-making, and have their voices heard. Youth Parliament 2022 will see the 120 youth representatives will debate legislation, sit on select committees, and ask parliamentary questions of Ministers on July 19-20. The mock Bill selected for debate is the  Minimum Wage (Starting-Out Wage Abolition) Amendment Bill. Anyone can make a submission on the mock Bill.

See how to make a submission here.

Find out more about the New Zealand Youth Parliament here.

Visionwest wins Westpac Supreme Business Award

A massive mihi to the team at Visionwest who won big at the recent Auckland Westpac North-West Business Awards. First winning the Excellence in Strategy and Planning Award, NZCCSS member-organisation Visionwest then took out the evening’s main trophy – the Supreme Business Excellence Award.

This is the first time a not-for-profit organisation has won the Supreme Award. For Visionwest, the recognition comes as fitting acknowledgement for its efforts to serve its community through the challenging circumstances of the last two years.

In those COVID-impacted years, Visionwest has continued to support the elderly and disabled to live independently, provide housing to those who have experienced homelessness, ensure budgeting, counselling and employment services are available for those finding things tough, and distributed food to those who have been going without.

In congratulating Visionwest, Auckland Business Chamber Chief Executive Michael Barnett said, “They have shown resilience and innovation through both stable and unprecedented times and are deserving winners. It is important they are recognised.”

Read more about Visionwest’s win here.

Learn more about the work of Visionwest here.

New Ministry for Disabled People to have name in 3 languages

Disabled people and whānau are being encouraged to be involved in the naming of the new ministry for disabled people. In a first for government ministries, the new ministry’s name will include New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), reo Māori and English components. The name will replace the current working title – Ministry for Disabled People.

Tāngata whaikaha Māori (Māori disabled people) and Māori leaders are coming together to find the pūrākau (stories) that will lead to the reo Māori part of the name. The Sign Language part of the name is being led by the Deaf community of Aotearoa, through the NZSL Board.

Establishment Governance Group Co-chair, Gerri Pomeroy said, “The long-term purpose of the new Ministry is to transform how government serves disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori, families and whānau. Ms Pomeroy says that “Nothing About Us Without Us will be the ethos of the new ministry and top priorities will be ensuring the disability community has real voice, and self-determination, and that all the mahi is mana-enhancing,”

To keep up to date on the development of the name and join the discussion go to AmplifyU

Also see the AmplifyU Facebook page here.

See who is on the Establishment Governance Group here.

Income Insurance Scheme: a deeper dive

Making submissions on proposed government legislation and initiatives is a core part of our work here at NZCCSS. But some matters inspire a deeper dive than what comfortably fits into a formal submission. The Government’s Income Insurance Scheme as currently proposed is one such matter. NZCCSS Policy Analyst Rachel McKay and Executive Officer Nikki Hurst jointly penned an opinion piece to give voice to concerns with a scheme that NZCCSS believes creates a two-tier system of welfare; one that re-introduces the concept of worthy versus unworthy poor…

“By moralising the way in which people find themselves without income, we are creating a two-tiered system of welfare that does little to protect a promise that

‘people have an adequate income and standard of living…(ensuring that they)…can live in dignity and are able to participate meaningfully in their communities’ – the government’s own vision for the modern Social Security Act.

If we are so concerned that the Social Security net isn’t enough, we must as a nation ask ourselves why. Every individual, regardless of their economic output, is intrinsically valuable, worthy of respect and dignity, and deserves to be treated as such. If instead of pouring time and resources into a new system for this generation’s new “worthy poor”, we instead invested in a working Social Security system, then this two-tiered system would be redundant.”

Read the full article here.

Total Mobility Card holders now included in Free Fares campaign

The Free Fares Campaign has now extended to include Total Mobility Card holders and their support people. The campaign’s starting focus was to advocate for making public transport free for or under 25s, tertiary students and Community Services card holders. In incorporating Total Mobility Card holders, the campaign aims to ensure greater equity in the transport system for those with disabilities.

Read more here.

Learn more about the Free Fares campaign here.

We welcome your feedback on POLICY WATCH and other publications produced by the Council, email: comms@nzccss.org.nz

Ngā mihi nui

From all of us in the team at NZCCSS