When we begin to believe that there is greater joy in working with and for others, rather than just for ourselves, then our society will truly become a place of celebrations.
Jean Vanier (1928 -2019), humanist, philosopher, theologian and advocate for humanity

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.

Tātou tātou e! Not long to go until our joint conference with Community Network Aotearoa on 27-28 August 2019 Wellington. The focus of the conference is how we can build strong relationships. We’ll look at the interdependence of all of us to support wellbeing at all levels: individual, family, whānau, community and society. Some highlights of the Tatou, tatou e! The value of relationships in building wellbeing conference include:

Whakamana Tāngata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand, learning from the past and present for the future” Implementing the Social Welfare Report – Cindy Kiro,

“Where’s the resources for community wellbeing? Supporting communities to support wellbeing” Political Panel featuring Minister Carmel Sepuloni, Minister Tracey Martin, Jan Logie and Hon Alfred Ngaro chaired by Dr Bryce Edwards.

Join us at Westpac Stadium. Registrations are open now.

News from the NGO sector

Launch of NZ’s first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – New Zealand may not have a SDG framework or minister to oversee this important work, but this isn’t stopping New Zealand’s civil society from taking the lead and producing a report on the progress of the global 2030 Agenda and SDGs. The report was co-written by Dr Gill Greer and Moko Morris, and represents months of collaboration with key individuals and organisations, including NZCCSS, working in the civil society space. Watch Gill and Moko’s presentation at the launched at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) and go to a new SDG website, developed by VUW, to find out more about the SDGs and a new hub for discussions in New Zealand. The report represents an inspiring piece of collaborative work and a must read for all those who want to work for social justice.

Workforce matters

Social Work Pay Gap – The pay gap between Oranga Tamariki social workers and community-based social workers hit the media last week with calls to increase government funding to the NGO sector. Listen to NZCCSS member and General Manager of the Anglican Trust for Women and Children (ATWC), Judy Mati’a, talk about the impact on ATWC, along with Barnardo CEO Jeff Sanders, and National Manager, Social Services Providers Association (SSPA) Brenda Pilott. The stakes are high for vulnerable children and families. NGO social workers are navigating the same space as OT social workers, doing the same work and often working with the same families. A sustainable NGO sector is critical to the delivery of wellbeing outcomes signaled by the government. For more background on this issue, listen to Brenda Pilott talking to Wallace Chapman on the struggles of NGO social services losing experienced workers because of salary.

Important Funding Gap Research – Social Services Providers Aotearoa have partnered with the philanthropic sector to identify the funding gap between what social services providers fund and what it actually costs to deliver services. This survey take less than 10 minutes and will really help in identifying the gaps and ensuring the report will be accurate and robust. Support this important work by clicking on this link on the link to complete the survey

Update on the Abuse in Care Inquiry

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions – The work of the Royal Commission is picking up pace. A Preliminary Hearing (video linked) was held on 25 June 2019 to share information about the Inquiry’s scope and focus and the methods to be used to deliver their work programme.

The date for the first Public Hearing has been set for 29 October 2019. To prepare for this, a one-day Procedural Hearing will be held on Monday, 19 August 2019. The purpose of the Procedural Hearing is to provide information about the Public hearing, such as how to apply for leave to appear. The Procedural Hearing also provides an opportunity for individuals, groups, institutions or other organisations who wish to formally participate in the Inquiry, to apply to be a ‘core participant’ of the Inquiry. A ‘core participant’ is defined as “.. someone who has played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to abuse in care. They can also be someone who has a significant interest in abuse in care, or who may be subject to serious criticism during the Inquiry. More information on these hearings are available here. To keep up with what’s happening across the Inquiry, go to the Inquiry website which provides clear and up-to-date information and subscribe to the monthly newsletter (Panui).

Hardship continues

Minister Sepuloni fronts up at Work and Income OfficeSeeing on Checkpoint people queuing at 3am at Manurewa Work and Income Office(W&I) to see an advocate from Auckland Action Against Poverty to help them access emergency assistance, is a stark reminder of the extent of the everyday hardship experienced by many families, and of the continued need for advocates to navigate the benefit system, despite some good work at W&I to change the way they do things. Food and winter clothing for the kids were the main needs identified, and families struggling on low income (mostly derived from benefits) after paying high rents, were the main reason people asked for assistance. There is nothing new here; member agencies regularly report these situations. Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni did the right thing fronting up at the Manurewa Office to see for herself. The Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s Report Whakamana Tangata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand made clear the need to lift benefits to restore dignity. If we don’t act on this advice, this inhumane situation will simply continue week after week, month after month and year after year.

New Government Appointments

Children’s Commissioner – The Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft has had his appointment extended until 30 June 2021, Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said “Judge Becroft has been doing an exemplary job as an advocate for the wellbeing of children and young people since 2016,” Carmel Sepuloni said. NZCCSS welcomes this announcements.

New Race Relations Commissioner – NZCCSS welcomes the news retiring Gisbourne Major, Meng Foon is the new Race Relations Commissioner. Foon’s knowledge of working with Māori and fluency in te reo (along with Cantonese and English) together with his focus on fair salaries and affordable housing, make him a welcome appointment to this position. “I want to continue the good work of the past commissioners … and continue to enhance harmonious relations right throughout New Zealand.”

Consultation process open

Carers Strategy consultation – The Government is hosting meetings across the country in July and August to discuss what priorities it should focus on for family carers for the new Carers’ Strategy Action Plan. There is also an online survey and opportunity for written comment. Consultation closes on 16th August. Find out more about the venues and other ways you can contribute and comment on the MSD Website.


KiwiBuy campaign – Community Housing Aotearoa, the Salvation Army, the Housing Foundation and Habitat for Humanity are working together on the KiwiBuy Campaign to persuade the government to put more resources into shared ownership and progressive home ownership products that can help more kiwis own an affordable home.

New Report

New report from CPAG on relationship rules – The Public Policy Institute, University of Auckland and CPAG have released a new report ‘Relationship status’ and the Welfare System in Aotearoa New Zealand“. The CPAG report by Olivia Healy and Jennifer Curtin for the Peter McKenzie Project summarises the ‘outdated thinking’ about relationship rules to receive a Sole Parent Support benefit that “punish and stigmatise already struggling single parents“.

What’s On

Kapiti Parish Benefit Impact 2019 – Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish will host a Benefit Impact from 22–26 July at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Waikanae. People from Kāpiti Coast are invited from Tuesday 23 July, to come and check entitlements with trained benefit advocates. As with the Archdiocese’s Benefit Impacts hosted by parish communities in Upper Hutt, 2016 and in Naenae, 2017, over the first two days, beneficiaries are invited to check their entitlements with advocates, followed by two days of appointments with Work and Income staff. For more information on the event click here.

Wellbeing and Spirituality Forum with Professor Holly Nelson-Becker 16 August 2019

Professor Nelson-Becker is a recognised expert in social gerontology and a Hartford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work who has investigated the pathways to resilience and well-being in older adults. She has explored spirituality, end-of-life, and the diverse cultural expressions related to social care. Her research areas focus on virtues, ageing, spiritual and religious coping in older adults, and inter-professional practice in palliative care.

Go to the Selwyn Foundation website to find out more.

Oranga Tamariki Evidence Centre Te Pokapū Taunakitanga

The next cross-agency seminar will be taking place on Friday 2nd August at 10:30am-12:00pm. Understanding the Impact of Offending and How to Prevent Harm, will feature two presentations; one looking at family harm initiatives from Police and the other discussing the results of the 2018 NZ Crime and Victims Survey from the Ministry of Justice.


Latest Community Law Manual

The Community Law Manual 2019-20 is out. Cost $150

A discount of $15 per copy is available on every 10 copies purchased. ($135 each) and then it increases if 20, 30 or 50 are ordered.

The larger the order the bigger the discount.

Presbyterian Support New Zealand currently have an order for 8 copies. Contact Vicky Pout, 04 473 5025, if you want a discounted copy of the manual.