“Ultimately it is our humanity, not the absence of it, that is the true source of economic growth and a flourishing civilisation”.

Nicky Hanauer, commenting on the 2018 Oxfam Report.

Happy 2019 and welcome to the Policy Watch e-letter highlighting the latest news, research and policy developments relevant to the NZCCSS mission to work for a just and compassionate society in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Christmas season is over, and we hope our Policy Watch readers feel refreshed and ready for all the opportunities and challenges 2019 will bring.

This year will be an interesting one for the Coalition Government as it moves from reviews and inquiries to decision-making and funding commitments. Implementing a transformational vision for New Zealand is no easy task and will take time and patience. At the same time we must recognise the desperate situations faced by many New Zealanders and expect effective action soon to provide real progress for those with the least.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the key social policy reviews and inquiries to keep an eye on as government progresses this work:

  • Social welfare review– WEAG recommendations to the Government are due February. The review covers three areas: 1) purpose and principles of the welfare system, 2) design and operation of the welfare system 3) how welfare interfaces with other systems, such as health, employment, housing and justice.
  • Prison reforms– A Criminal Justice Summit was held last year on how we can reform our criminal justice system effectively. Eyes are on Budget 2019 to see what resources are made available to implement change.
  • Tax Working Group– While the interim report was released last year, the final report with recommendations has been provided to government with the public release due in 3 weeks. The need for some sort of tax on wealth is clear but the public’s appetite may be problematic. Meanwhile, National has released a tax plan of its own proposing gradual tax relief every three years.
  • Kiwibuild– The policy aims to deliver 100,000 houses over 10 years. The implementation of the policy has proved slow with interim targets now deferred due to poor progress. Government has pledged to get things back on track as a priority.
  • Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy– Analysis of submissions has commenced. Key themes identified in the process will be published later in year and will inform the development of the strategy due to be published in 2019.
  • Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions Order 2018– The Inquiry Terms of Reference now include faith-based institutions. The Inquiry team will formally commence its work early 2019. Read the latest update from the Inquiry Team for more information.
  • Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction– Inquiry Panel Chair Ron Paterson presented He Ara Oranga report to the Minister of Health Dr David Clark in December. The Government is expected to report on recommendations set out in the Inquiry report in March 2019.


Alongside all this work is preparation for New Zealand’s first Wellbeing Budget.  Public submissions on the Government’s Budget Policy Statement (BPS) have now closed and the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee is now gearing up to hear oral submissions. NZCCSS consulted with members on a written submission, which will be available on the NZCCSS website after presenting an oral submission on 13th February.


The 177th commemoration of the signing of  Te Tiriti o Waitangi is just around the corner and there are celebrations planned all around the country. Check out a local event in your area to celebrate, commemorate and debate this historic event that continues to shape Aotearoa today.


I want it all – The 2018 Oxfam reportReward Work not Wealth is out and it finds those with the most continue to want more! The report identifies the wealth of 2,200 billionaires across the globe had increased by $900bn in 2018 – or $2.5bn a day (12% increase), while the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population falls 11%. The report sees a similar trend in New Zealand. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see this trend is not sustainable from any angle whether ethical, human rights or environmental.


NZCCSS is delight the value of paying a living wage to staff continues to spread with the announcement Westpac has become the first bank and largest corporate in New Zealand to pay the living wage to staff, including contractors and suppliers. What a great start to 2019!


Quality in Aged Care – interRAI 2018 annual report – The annual report from the interRAI needs assessment data taken from both home based support and aged residential care needs assessments has been published in January. The theme of the report is a focus on quality – both the quality of the data itself that is collected as well information on quality of life for the older people assessed and service quality for the services working with them. Read the full report in the interRAI website


The Office for Seniors has released a summary of the submissions received on the Positive Ageing Strategy. NZCCSS was among the 469 groups or individuals who submitted comments on the strategy last year (read our submission on our website under Submissions. We will be keeping an eye out for the draft version of the proposed new Strategy that is expected to be released for comment in the first half of this year.


International Day of Social Justice AND 50th celebration of NZCCSS

On February 20th, the United Nations Day of Social Justice and the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services will join together with its member churches and church social services agencies in a joint worship to focus on those who are poor and marginalised in society. Joining together in prayer is a witness to our unity in tackling society’s problems and reinforces why we are engaged in this work. To give focus to this day we will be holding a prayer event at the Anglican Wellington Cathedral of St Paul and invite all to be a part of it. Go to the NZCCSS Facebook page to learn more.

Kore Hiakai – Zero Hunger

The Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Project is currently a collective of social service agencies focused on eliminating food poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand through finding lasting, structural, mana enhancing solutions.

We invite you to join us in seeking long term sustainable solutions to end food poverty and to ensure that all New Zealanders are empowered to source enough nutritious food in an ongoing way.

Save the date for one of our hui in March 2019.

  • Christchurch – Tuesday 12 March
  • Auckland – Thursday 14 March
  • Wellington – Thursday 21 March

2019 Community Networks Aotearoa and NZ Council of Christian Social Services Joint Conference

Tātou tātou: The value of relationships and building wellbeing is the theme of the joint conference to be held on 27th and 28th August 2019 in Wellington. More information will be available shortly. Meanwhile, SAVE THE DATE!


Congratulations to Major Campbell Roberts on receiving a Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honors list for services to the Community (CNZM). This is well deserved recognition of decades of work to create a just and compassionate New Zealand.

Congratulations also to Ian Hassall knighted for Services to the Welfare of Children. Ian was New Zealand’s first Children’s Commissioner in 1989 and continues to be a tireless advocate for children’s rights.


NZCCSS was saddened to learn of the passing of Ian Shirley who was Emeritus Professor of Public Policy, founder and member of the Policy Observatory and a former Pro Vice Chancellor at the Auckland University of Technology. Professor Shirley was also New Zealand’s first Professor of Social Policy and dedicated his life to the development of compassionate social policy.


At the end of last year our fabulous Kaiwhakarite, Sharee Eden, moved to Work and Income to take up a great case management opportunity. Sharee joined NZCCSS in 2012 and had been an invaluable part of the NZCCSS Secretariat. We are currently recruiting for a replacement.


Grants training for not-for-profits

Strategic Grants have several online and face to face training opportunities coming up, which teach the best-practice processes, strategies and skills required to successfully and sustainably access grants funding for your projects. Learn more and book online at the links below.

Grant-Seeker Workshop, Wellington  – Thu 28 Feb 2019 9am – 1pm ($230 incl GST)

Grant-Seeker Workshop, Auckland – Wed 27 Mar 2019 9am – 1pm ($230 incl GST)

AUT – Studies in violence and trauma

AUT is teaching a range of Postgraduate studies in Violence and Trauma with specialisms in Family Violence.  For further information visit:  www.aut.ac.nz/violence-and-trauma