“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Martin Luther King Jr
Autumn’s well and truly in the air…and so is Omicron. We hope that you can stay as well and as safe as possible. Our March issue of Policy Watch has the regular mix of news, events and developments impacting our sector.
Kia noho haumaru
The team at NZCCSS
Recent NZCCSS Submissions
Oranga Tamariki Amendment Bill Partial repeal of subsequent-child provisions – NZCCSS supports the repeal on the basis that it creates a more equitable approach to assessing the safety of subsequent children, while still maintaining sufficient safeguards to protect at-risk tamariki. NZCCSS further urges government to both continue, and increase, investment in Māori-led approaches to supporting whanau.
Plain Language Bill – NZCCSS supports the kaupapa to increase the accessibility to documents necessary for engagement with public agencies by virtue of plain language requirements.
Handy health hub for COVID-19
The COVID-19 Health Hub is a depository of information around what to do if you test positive for, or are exposed to COVID-19, as a close or household contact.
The Health Hub outlines the simple steps to take to recover, isolate, look after yourself or access support and provides direct links to COVID-19 resources such as My Covid Record, Book My Vaccine and Ministry of Health and Unite Against Covid websites.
Visit the Health Hub here.
Coalition pushes for relief for Aged Residential Care Crisis
The dire shortage of nurses in aged residential care (ARC) is under sharper focus with the formation of the Coalition on Fair Pay for Aged Care Nurses. NZCCSS has joined with eight other organisations in advocating with Health Minister Hon Andrew Little to prevent an ever-more likely breakdown of the ARC sector.
As reported in Policy Watch last year, the crisis has intensified as District Health Boards (DHBs) have been actively recruiting ARC nursing staff, with remuneration often more than $15,000 per annum above that of ARC nurses. The pay gap will only worsen once the pending pay equity claim for DHB nurses is resolved.
Already, facilities around New Zealand are closing – Wairoa, Whanganui, Wairarapa, Southland – and the number of hospital-level care beds are reducing. Many subsidy-only beds are closing, creating inequity for the growing number of older New Zealanders who can’t afford to pay an accommodation supplement for their care. Underpinning all this is increasing burn-out amongst nurses.
Similarly, home care services are also suffering a severe shortage of staff.
While Minister Little has previously responded that pay parity will be addressed at a future time, the Coalition maintains that the sector is in imminent danger of collapse. The Coalition is seeking prompt action by the Minister to urgently fund pay parity for nurses working in ARC with nurses working in DHB settings, and to increase government investment in training and upskilling of nurses to help build a sustainable ARC nursing workforce.
Read more in this NZ Herald article.
Commerce Commission report on retail grocery sector released
As grocery prices continue to spiral upward, the long-awaited Commerce Commission’s market study into the retail grocery sector was released this morning. The bolder moves flagged in the draft report of last year are missing – the report stopped short of requiring the two sector players to divest any of their stores or to split their retail brands. Instead, the Commission’s recommendations in the report focus on measures that it maintains are likely to improve the conditions for entry and expansion.
The recommendations include:
- Making more land available for new grocery stores
- Improving access to the wholesale supply of a wide range of groceries at competitive prices
- Monitoring strategic conduct by the major grocery retailers, such as the use of ‘best price’ clauses and exclusive supply agreements
- Introducing a mandatory code of conduct for grocery supply relationships to improve transparency and ban unfair conduct
- Strengthening the existing law prohibiting the use of unfair terms in standard form contracts
- Considering whether to allow collective bargaining by some suppliers
- Requiring major grocery retailers to ensure promotional and pricing practices, and the terms and conditions of loyalty programmes, are easy for consumers to understand
- Requiring grocery retailers to display unit pricing in a consistent format.
Read the final report executive summary here.
Read the full report here.
High Court quashing of a vaccine mandate clarified
An article by The Spinoff’s Toby Manhire provides some useful clarity around the recent High Court quashing of a vaccine mandate (emphasis on ‘a’). Helpfully, the article identifies what the ruling applies to and what it does not.
The seedy side of motor vehicle insurance add-ons
Late November 2021, the Commerce Commission released its review of motor vehicle financing and related add-ons products. Add-ons, such as mechanical breakdown insurance, are paid for by adding their price to the loan taken out to buy vehicles. The review called attention to the bind of people on lower incomes who rely on finance to purchase a vehicle, and who then find themselves saddled with debt far larger than the value of the vehicles.
The review was prompted by concerns raised by financial mentors who are seeing increasing numbers of unsuspecting customers struggling with repayments. A recent article by Stuff journalist Rob Stock further highlighted the shocking ratio of claim pay outs versus collected premiums.
Here at NZCCSS we’re keen to support measures that protect unknowing consumers from being caught in punishing debt and will be keeping a watch on developments.
Read a summary of the Commerce Commission report prepared by NZCCSS policy analyst Rachel Mackay
Read the Commerce Commission full review here:
New tool to provide easier access to philanthropic funding
Philanthropy New Zealand | Tо̄pūtanga Tuku Aroha o Aotearoa is developing a new service to help both those seeking and distributing philanthropic funding in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The vision of Match | Te Puna Taurite aims to be a more equitable, accessible and collaborative funding system that more easily connects those with funds to those that seek them.
Launching on 28 March, Match | Te Puna Taurite particularly seeks to help small charities and those supporting Māori, Pasifika, rainbow, refugee and new migrant and disabled communities.
You can keep updated by subscribing to the MTPT newsletter here and through the Philanthropy New Zealand | Tōpūtanga Tuku Aroha o Aotearoa website
Driver licences for over 75s extended during Omicron peak
To reduce the burden on GPs/primary care as they respond to the building Omicron peak, the Ministry of Health requested from Waka Kotahi a possible extension of driver licences for drivers over 75. The Agency has already provided for an extension:
The issue of requiring a medical certificate to renew at 75 and beyond (or renew a commercial class of licence or endorsement) during the predicted Omicron peak of March 2022, has been addressed through a temporary extension of driver licences and endorsements until 31 May 2022. The extensions are in place to allow people to continue driving while Covid-19 protection framework restrictions limit them from easily renewing their licence or endorsement.
The extension does not cover licence holders who need a medical certificate to obtain a new class of licence or endorsement, or to comply with an annual medical clearance.
Further information is available on the Waka Kotahi website here:
Free oral health care training for aged care
Free training from dental specialists in oral health care is on offer to caregivers and registered nurses from the aged care sector. Provided by the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) and the Ministry of Health, the training educates staff in identifying changes to residents’ oral health and in developing individual oral care plans based on need. The NZDA will give a certificate of accreditation to every facility that has at least 25% of staff trained in oral health care.
The training is already underway. You can find out more and register here:
Together alone: A review of joined up social services
The Productivity Commission asked consulting economist Julie Fry to review the recent progress of joined-up social services as part of The Commission’s A fair chance for all inquiry.
Released mid-February, Fry’s review looked at 18 initiatives spanning a broad range of approaches. They all aim for more effective and joined-up social services for people in the greatest need. Fry’s findings are that effective collaborations require adequate, dedicated funding from the outset, along with:
- trust between providers, and between providers and recipients of support
- clear objectives that are shared by providers and recipients
- sound governance and enough staff
- effective data collection, monitoring and evaluation.
Read more about what’s identified as working – and what isn’t, and how government could do better in the Together alone report here:
Help spread the word for support with family violence and sexual violence
As COVID-19 spreads in communities, the multi-agency Joint Venture for eliminating family violence and sexual violence is keen to ensure New Zealanders know that help continues to be available.
The key messages the Joint Venture wants shared:
- Crisis services are open
- Family violence and sexual violence support lines are open for people to call, email or text
- If someone is in danger call Police on 111
- When dialling 111 follow the operator’s instructions if you can’t speak
If you or someone else is in danger, call the Police on 111. Police take family violence and sexual abuse seriously. If you can’t call for help, get out of the house, and ask a neighbour or someone else to call 111. If you can’t speak when dialling 111, follow the operator’s instructions.
Sexual assault includes unwanted sexual contact made using coercion, intimidation, threats or the use of force, or when you were intoxicated and could not say no. Child sexual abuse includes exposing a child under 16 to any sexual acts or sexual material.
If you’re hurting someone or worried about what you might do
If you are getting help or have previously got help for behaviour that worries you and others, reach out as there is still help available. If you are worried about your behaviour and those close to you feel frightened of you, reach out and ask for help.
Help is available through:
- Safe to Talk sexual harm helpline 0800 044 334, text 4334, email email@example.com
- Family violence help line 0800 456 450 9am-11pm 7 days a week
- Women’s Refuge – 0800 733 843, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Facebook message
- Shine domestic abuse services free call 0508 744 633
- Rape Crisis 0800 883 300
- 1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 for mental health support from a trained counsellor
- Hey Bro helpline – supporting men to be free from violence 0800 HeyBro (439 276)
- Oranga Tamariki line for concerns about children and young people 0508 326 459, email: email@example.com
- Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webchat https://www.youthline.co.nz/web-chat-counselling.html
- Shakti – for migrant and refugee women 0800 742 584 – available 24 hours
- Elder Abuse Helpline 0800 326 6865 – available 24 hours
This symbol, when included on websites – like The Warehouse, TradeMe, Countdown – signals that these are shielded sites through which Women’s Refuge can be contacted safely.
Read more about the Joint Venture’s latest work here
Looking for meaningful mahi? See the latest vacancies from our member and partners here. https://nzccss.org.nz/who-we-are/sector-vacancies/